Africa’s most common large carnivore is a hyena and commonly referred to as a scavenger. This because it feeds on the lift overs of the leopards and lions.
There are three hyena species — spotted, brown, and striped hyenas. Spotted hyenas are the largest of the three. They are fairly large in build and have relatively short torsos with lower hindquarters, and sloping backs. They have excellent night-time vision and hearing.
These carnivores are one of Africa’s top predators; however, there is a common misconception that they are primarily scavengers. All most 70 percent of their diet is composed of direct kills. They consume animals of various types and sizes, carrion, bones, vegetable matter, and other animal droppings. Their jaws are among the strongest in relation to the size of any other mammal.
Their jaws and digestive tract allow them to process and obtain nutrients from skin and bones. The only parts of prey not fully digested are hair, horns, and hooves — these are regurgitated in the form of pellets. The high mineral content of the bones makes their droppings a highly visible, chalky white. According to campers, these animals have even been known to consume aluminum pots and pans.
Hyenas make a variety of vocalizations, including wailing calls, howling screams, and the well-known “laughter,” which can be heard up to five kilometers away (three miles) and is used to alert other clan members of a food source.
Breading; they usually give birth to litters of 2-4 young ones called cubs. Cubs begin to eat meat from dead near at 5 months, and continue breast feeding for up 12 to 18 months — an unusually long time for carnivores. This is probably a necessity, as most kills are made far from the den, and hyenas, unlike jackals and hunting dogs, do not bring back food and regurgitate it for their young. At about one year, cubs begin to follow their mothers on their hunting and scavenging forays. Until then, they are left behind at the den with a babysitting adult.
Hyenas are organized into territorial clans of related individuals. The center of clan activity is the den, where the cubs are raised, and individuals meet.
They mark and patrol their territories by leaving a strong-smell substance produced by the anal glands on stalks of grass along the boundaries. Hence help them mark their territories.