As a spotted hyena

Article

May 28, 2022

The spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is a species of hyena. It is the largest of the living hyenas today and the most abundant large beast in Africa. It’s also called a laughing hyena because of its vocalizations. Despite its reputation as a carnivore, it usually catches its prey itself. The spotted hyena is very loud and its social system is highly developed. The species was also found in Eurasia during the Pleistocene. Often when we talk about hyena, we mean just spot hyena. Taxonomy and evolution The spotted hyena was officially described to the international scientific community in 1777 by the German naturalist Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben. The scientific name comes from the ancient Greek words krokoutas and Krokos, which refers to crocus, or saffron. The name refers to “saffron yellow”. Translated into Latin, it gives the word Crocuta. The name Krokoutas comes from the Roman Gaius Plinius Secundus, who used the name of an unknown wild animal living in Ethiopia that may have been a hyena. The spotted hyena is one of the four existing species in the genus Hyena, and forms its own genus Crocuta in the tribe. All live spot hybrids are counted in the subspecies Crocuta crocuta crocuta. However, fossils of the species have been found not only in Africa but also in Europe and Asia. The earliest fossils found in the genus Crocuta date back to the plocene period, about 3.7 million years ago. The genus developed in Africa but spread early beyond it. The prevalence of spotted hyena was highest during the Pleistocene, when the genus was widely found in Eurasia. The cave hyena (C. c. Spelaea) that lived in Europe and West Asia was a subspecies of the spotted hyena that lived during the last ice age.

Anatomy

The spotted hyena is heavier than other hybrids and, unlike the others, has a spotted coat. The front body is particularly strong and is emphasized by the forelegs, which are much longer than the hind legs. Thanks to its physique, it can carry even large pieces of meat when running. The shallow and rounded hind body is a difficult target for potential enemies. In addition, due to the shape of the hind body, the running style of the hyenas is galloping, but the comic-looking style still consumes little energy and allows for long journeys of food. Unlike most mammals, spotted hyena females are larger than dogs; the spotted hyena usually weighs about 55 to 70 kilograms, the male 45 to 60 kilograms. The largest females can weigh up to more than 80 kilograms. The body length of the spotted hyena is 95 to 160 centimeters from snout to tail and the height at the withers is 80 to 90 centimeters. The tail ending in a black tail is thick and 30 to 36 centimeters long. 2/3 of the length of the tail is made up of the bones of the tail and the rest is made up of mere hair. The coloring of the spot hyena varies greatly. The base color of the turkey varies from off-white to yellowish. Turkey has dark spots on the sides and upper limbs. The spots tell the age of the hyena, as they dissipate as the animal ages. The head and legs are dark brown or greyish. The muzzle is black and the ears are round. The head and cheeks are reddish. The long coat is rough and woolly. The jaws are relatively stronger than in any other mammal. They have a biting force of up to 454 kilograms with which it easily crushes bones. As early as a year old, you can bite with a force of 273 kilograms; with such use, the teeth wear a lot. Hyena’s teeth are pretty much like the teeth of a dog, and with sharp front teeth, it tears the meat effortlessly. The cheek teeth are tapered and sharp and are suitable for chopping and crushing bone. The eyes are more canine than feline, and their retina lacks a reflective layer. The night vision of the spotted hyena is still good.