Harvey's Safari Adventure, Day 6

If you've ever seen the movie The Lion King, you'll probably recognize the animal Harvey and his friends saw today.

This is a hyena. But in real life, hyenas are not exactly like they are in the movie. Here are some interesting facts about them:

  1. A hyena is about the size of a large dog. The spotted hyena that is found in Serengeti National Park weighs about 100 - 140 pounds.

  2. Hyenas are known as scavengers, meaning they eat any dead animals they can find. They've even been known to steal food from other animals like lions. But the truth is, they don't just steal their food. They hunt most of it themselves, and they are amazing hunters! They have the strongest jaws of any carnivore and can kill animals much bigger than they are! In fact, lions are more likely to steal food from them because they are such great hunters.

  3. You're likely to hear a hyena long before you see one. Their loud call can be heard over 3 miles away! They also make a laughing noise that has earned them the nickname "laughing hyena."

  4. Hyenas live in social groups called clans, and the females in the clan are the ones in charge! Clans are usually very large, but they are not always together at the same time. They often gather in smaller groups, getting together as a whole clan only once in a while.

  5. Hyenas are very intelligent - not at all the way they seem in the movie. In experiments, hyenas proved that they are even better at group problem solving than chimpanzees! They're so smart, they actually count how many hyenas are in a clan before deciding how to approach the clan.

  6. Hyenas are not members of the dog or cat family. They're so unique, they have a family all their own!

  7. A hyena will live longer than a dog or a cat, about 20 - 25 years. The longest living hyena ever recorded lived to be 41 years old in captivity.

  8. Hyenas have excellent night-time vision and hearing.

  9. Baby hyenas are called cubs, and they stick close to their mothers for the first 2 years of their life.

  10. Hyenas may not be the fastest African animals, but they are still fast! They can run 35 miles per hour for about 2 miles before starting to slow down. That means they can run two miles in less than 4 minutes!

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