top of page

The Brown Hyena (Hyaena brunnea)

Known as "Africa's rarest predator", this fascinating looking hyena is on its last legs. With the potential of it to become extinct, it is vital that we learn more about it, and help to preserve this mammal.

Physical Description and Behavior

Brown hyenas are a mid-sized carnivore. They range from 34.2 to 72.6 kg (75 to 160 pounds). With their body length ranging from 130 to 160 cm (51 to 63 inches). This makes them the second largest hyena species.

They have long shaggy hair which is dark brown to black. This hair turns a lighter brown on the shoulders and neck, with their legs covered in stripes of black and white. These hairs can range from super short on the face, up to a foot in length on their back and tails.

Fun Fact: These hyenas have two different mating systems that depend on whether the Alpha Male is from another clan. If he is, he will have sex with all of the clan females and aggressively defend the clan from other male intruders. Otherwise, they have a more promiscuous mating system. In this system, females will have sex with any nomadic male hyena passing by.

The clan is usually cooperative. Mothers will take care of not only their own but other mother's cubs. Other members of the clan will bring home food for the mother and cubs who cannot hunt.

These carnivores are nocturnal, mostly hunting at night. They can travel over 20 miles when hunting, and often use latrine sites to relieve themselves. These sites are also used to mark their territory, so other hyenas know to stay away.

Habitat and Location

This Hyena can only be found in a few locations, such as the Skeleton Coast, and the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, located in the southernmost parts of Africa. They can usually be found in arid and semi-arid savannas and grasslands, and occasionally in deserts.

They are considered to be Near Threatened according to the IUCN Red List with a now stable population trend. According to some sources, their population was on the decline for years before the newer IUCN Update. They are considered Endangered according to the US Federal List.

You can learn a little more about this animal by checking out the video below:

94 views0 comments


bottom of page