There are similarities and differences in hyena species lives. Spotted hyenas form groups of up to
The spotted hyena's maniacal, eerie cry has led to it being called the "laughing" hyena. (Digital Stock)
one hundred: a few males, many females, and numerous young. Females conceive year round, birthing two or three pups that can see and run immediately, after a four-month gestation. Females, larger than males, select short-term mates. Striped hyenas fight within groups, sometimes killing group members. Maximum life spans are twenty-five years in the wild and forty years in captivity.
Like spotted hyenas, striped hyenas mate year round. They live in small groups or alone. Athree-month gestation yields two to five young born with the eyes not yet open. Mothers nurse offspring until they can feed themselves. Life spans are up to twenty-five years in captivity. Brown hyena life cycles and reproductive habits are nearly the same as in striped hyenas. However, they live alone except when mating or nursing young.
Aardwolves live in groups. They have a mating season when males fight for females and winners mate. Gestation is two months and yields two to five young, nursed for two months. Aard-wolves live for fifteen years in captivity.
Spotted, striped, and brown hyenas eat carrion, preventing its decay and its endangerment of humans and other animals. Aardwolves eatter-mites, preventing damage to the wilderness and human habitations. These activities are their main ecological function. As spotted and striped hyenas eat live food, they also kill injured or weak members of other species, helping the species eaten to enhance their long-term survival.
—Sanford S. Singer See also: Carnivores; Dogs, wolves, and coyotes; Fauna: Africa; Packs; Predation; Scavengers.
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