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Striped Hyena

Striped Hyena
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-07-20
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/1, 1/400 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-10-29 8:39
Viewed: 4670
Points: 46
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo is made in De Beekse Bergen, a Safaripark. It is the largest wildlife zoo of the Benelux region and provides a home to approximately 1.250 animals from over 150 species, varying from small mammals to large birds.

A Striped Hyena is rarely seen on TN.

The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is a species of true hyena native to North and East Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Middle and Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. It is listed by the IUCN as near threatened, as the global population is estimated to be under 10.000 mature individuals which continues to experience deliberate and incidental persecution along with a decrease in its prey base such that it may come close to meeting a continuing decline of 10% over the next three generations.

It is the smallest of the true hyenas and retains many primitive viverrid characteristics lost in larger species, having a smaller and less specialised skull. Though primarily a scavenger, large specimens have been known to kill their own prey, and attacks on humans have occurred on rare instances. The striped hyena is a monogamous animal, with both males and females assisting one another in raising their cubs. A nocturnal animal, the striped hyena typically only makes itself visible in complete darkness, and is quick to return to its lair before sunrise. Although it is often considered a cowardly animal (due to its habit of feigning death when attacked), it has been known to stand its ground against larger predators such as leopards in disputes over food.

Physical description
The striped hyena has a fairly massive, but short torso set on long legs. The hind legs are significantly shorter than the forelimbs, thus causing the back to slope downwards. The legs are relatively thin and weak, with the forelegs being bent at the carpal region. The neck is thick, long and largely immobile, while the head is heavy and massive with a shortened facial region. The eyes are small, while the sharply pointed ears are very large, broad and set high on the head. Like all hyenas, the striped hyena has bulky pads on its paws, as well as blunt but powerful claws. The tail is short and the terminal hairs do not descend below the calcaneal tendon. Unlike the genitalia of the spotted hyena, the female reproductive organs of the striped hyena are normal. The female has 3 pairs of teats. Adult weight can range from 22 to 55 kg, averaging at about 35 kg. Body length can range from 85 to 130 cm, not counting a tail of 25 to 40 cm, and shoulder height is between 60–80 cm. The male has a large pouch of naked skin located at the anal opening. Large anal glands open into it from above the anus. Several sebaceous glands are present between the openings of the anal glands and above them. The anus can be everted up to a length of 5 cm, and is everted during social interaction and mating. When attacked, the striped hyena everts its rectum and sprays a pungent smelling liquid from its anal glands. Its eyesight is acute, though its senses of smell and hearing are weak.

The winter coat is unusually long and uniform for an animal its size, with a luxuriant mane of tough, long hairs along the back from the occiput to the base of the tail. The coat is generally coarse and bristly, though this varies according to season. In winter, the coat is fairly dense, soft, and has well-developed underfur. The guard hairs are 50–75 mm long on the flanks, 150–225 mm long on the mane and 150 mm on the tail. In summer, the coat is much shorter and coarser, and lacks underfur, though the mane remains large.
In winter, the coat is usually of a dirty-brownish grey or dirty grey colour. The hairs of the mane are light grey or white at the base, and black or dark brown at the tips. The muzzle is dark, greyish brown, brownish-grey or black, while the top of the head and cheeks are more lightly coloured. The ears are almost black. A large black spot is present on the front of the neck, and is separated from the chin by a light zone. A dark field ascends from the flanks ascending to the rear of the cheeks. The inner and outer surface of the forelegs are covered with small dark spots and transverse stripes. The flanks have four indistinct dark vertical stripes and rows of diffused spots. The outer surface of the thighs has 3-4 distinct vertical or oblique dark bands which merge into transverse stripes in the lower portion of the legs. The tip of the tail is black with white underfur.

Burrowing behaviours
The striped hyena may dig its own dens, but it also establishes its lairs in caves, rock fissures, erosion channels and burrows formerly occupied by porcupines, wolves, warthogs and aardvarks. Hyena dens can be identified by the presence of bones at their entrances. The striped hyena hides in caves, niches, pits, dense thickets, reeds and plume grass during the day to shelter from predators, heat or winter cold. The size and elaboration of striped hyena dens varies according to location; dens in the Karakum have entrances 0.67-0.72 m wide and are extended over a distance of 4.15–5 m, with no lateral extensions or special chambers. In contrast, hyena dens in Israel are much more elaborate and large, exceeding 27 m in length.

The striped hyena is primarily a scavenger which feeds mainly on ungulate carcasses in different stages of decomposition, fresh bones, cartilages, ligaments and bone marrow. It crushes long bones into fine particles and swallows them, though sometimes entire bones are eaten whole. The striped hyena is not a fussy eater, though it has an aversion to vulture flesh. It will occasionally attack and kill any animal it can overcome. It hunts prey by running it down, grabbing its flanks or groin and inflicting mortal wounds by tearing out the viscera. In Turkmenistan, the species is recorded to feed on wild boar, kulan, porcupines and tortoises. A seasonal abundance of oil willow fruits is an important food source in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, while in the Caucasuses, it is grasshoppers. In Israel, the striped hyena feeds on garbage, carrion and fruits. In eastern Jordan, its main sources of food are feral horse and water buffalo carcasses and village refuse. It has been suggested that only the large hyenas of the Middle East, Asia minor, central Asia and the Indian subcontinent attack large prey, with no evidence of their smaller Arabian and east African cousins doing so. Because of its scavenging diet, the striped hyena requires more water to survive than most other carnivores. When eating, the striped hyena gorges itself until satisfied, though hyenas with cubs will transport food to their dens. Because of the high content of calcium in its diet, the faeces of the striped hyena becomes white very rapidly, and can be visible from long distances.

Source: Parts of Wikipedia

CeltickRanger, maaciejka, aruntp, anel, goatman04, Chiza, rousettus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter

You did well to shoot the photo at the Hyena's
that pose while he was scratching himself,
with excellent focus, sharpness and details, TFS


Hello Peter,
lovely capture of this striped hyena with good sharpness and a funny pose. I also like the natural colours, but now I must immediately leave your beautiful picture, because I've already got an itch on my back. ;-)
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2012-10-29 10:09]

Hello Peter,
Excellent photo presentation of this Striped Hyena, very good, colorful photo with sharp details and useful description, thanks for sharing!

Ciao Peter, great capture of Hyena in fantastic pose, finev details, wonderful natural colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter,
Excellent capture of this Hyena in its natural habitat with good pose and compozition,sharp details and bright natural colours.

Ciao Peter. Impressive details nad sharp for the interesting dymanic moment. Great time MF.


Hi Peter,
hyena is not a nice animal. But this is a very interesting photo of it. I like composition and sharpness.
Have a nice evening,

hallo Peter
super scherpe opname met veel details en super mooie kleuren
Apart om het krabben op de foto te nemen maakt het net weer anders
groet lou

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2012-10-29 12:31]

Hi Peter,
Nice photo not much popular animal. Very good moment captured
lots of sharpness details and in superb colours.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-10-29 16:47]

Hi Peter,nice to see this funny moment,an excellent way to show us this iena,the top of perfection of details,colors and very professional exposure too.Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-10-29 17:53]

Hello Peter,
I have never seen a hyena of this color before, it is quite attractive to say the least. Nicely framed and showing exceptional detail. Perfect white balance and beautiful natuiral colors. Great work!!

Hello Peter
Interesting scene and beautiful photo with very good composition, wonderful colours and inpressive sharpness.

Hello Peter,

A funny little fellow, maybe with an undeserved bad reputation..!
This behaviour is quite dog like, and I assume there is a distant relation...
Situation is well framed, good details!

Pablo -

beautiful wildlife image of Hynae... excellent closeup. good lighting and angle.... a relaxing photograph. good work. tfs

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2012-10-30 5:47]

Hello Peter,
Even if taken in a Safari-parc this is a most beautiful shot and a very attractive one too. The pose of the Striped Hyena is just great and absolutely natural, like the environment too. Best sharpness, good composition, an excellent picture!
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2012-10-30 6:56]

Hello Peter
Excellent capture here I didn't even know that specie.Good POV and amasing pose .Extremely sharp image with great natural colours.Amasing fur details also.
TFS Michel

hello Peter .
you captured the perfect mood of this Striped Hyena, yes you are right, it rarely appear in TN.
well composed picture with great clarity, colour and tone.
best wishes,

Leuk plaatje zo, hoe is het met al je Kamera perikelen?

Hello Peter,
An excellent capture with fine colors, action & pose. Well composed & presented. Nice work & TFS. Best wishes!


Hello Peter

If I did not know the location I would think this is taken somewhere in India. I have seen it only once, a very cunning predator of the grasslands. Fantastic capture in typical pose with perfect exposure.


  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2012-10-31 19:48]

Hola Peter, una toma de un mamífero fabuloso, mucho tiempo tenía de no ver uno ni siquiera en foto. Me gusta el movimiento, color y composición y aunque es cautivo, logró una bella toma...saludos.

Hello Peter,
Fantastic funny photo . Very interesting, intriguing animal.

Hallo Peter
what great shot of handsome Hyaena. This must be male with black throat. I have seen a pair of hyaena in nature for single time. You are also lcuky to capture them in good and similar natural condition.
Thanks for sharing this beauty. well done my friend

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