The striped hyena is an animal native to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It is a medium-sized carnivore and belongs to the family Hyaenidae. The striped hyena has a distinctive black and white striped coat, long ears, and a short muzzle. Its body is built for strength and agility, allowing it to hunt large prey such as wildebeest and antelopes. It also scavenges for carrion when available. The striped hyena is an intelligent animal that lives in small family groups or solitary individuals. It is nocturnal, but can be seen during the day when food is scarce.The Striped Hyena is a species of hyena native to North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because of its declining population caused by habitat loss and hunting for its fur. The Striped Hyena is a medium-sized animal, with a body length of around 95 cm (3.1 ft) and a shoulder height of around 70 cm (2.3 ft). It has a sandy-gray coat with black stripes that run along its body from head to tail. Its diet consists mainly of carrion and small mammals such as hares and rodents.

Classification of Striped Hyena

The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is a species of hyena, native to North and East Africa, the Middle East and the Caucasus. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, and is estimated to be declining in some areas due to habitat loss and persecution. The striped hyena is one of four species in the genus Hyaena, which also contains the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), the brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) and the aardwolf (Proteles cristatus). It belongs to the family Hyaenidae, which also includes the aardwolf.

The striped hyena has a stocky build with relatively short legs and a long neck. Its fur is grayish-brown in color with black stripes running along its back and sides. Its head has a distinctive black mask, which gives it its common name. The striped hyena is an omnivore, feeding on small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, carrion and fruits. It is mainly nocturnal but can also be active during daylight hours.

The striped hyena ranges from northern Africa through to India and western Asia. It prefers habitats such as savanna grasslands and semi-arid regions but can also be found in forests and mountains up to elevations of 4500 meters above sea level. The striped hyena is an adaptable species that can survive in areas that have been disturbed by humans or are subject to human exploitation such as hunting or grazing.

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The striped hyena has been classified by taxonomists into eight subspecies based on physical characteristics such as size, coloration and skull shape. These subspecies include Hyaena hyaena sultanae from northern Africa; Hyaena hyaene syriaca from Syria; Hyaene hayaene syriacus from Iraq; Hyaene hayaene persica from Iran; Hyaene hayaene algira from Algeria; Hyaene hayaene indica from India; Hyaene hayaene indicus from Pakistan; and Hyaene hayaenae turcicus from Turkey.

The striped hyenas have been persecuted by humans for centuries due to their perceived threat to livestock or game animals. They are now protected by law in many parts of their range but they continue to be threatened by habitat loss due to human activities such as urbanization or agricultural expansion.

Physical Characteristics of Striped Hyena

The striped hyena is a medium-sized carnivore which typically weighs between 40 and 70 kilograms. It has an elongated, bear-like body with a sloping back, and its legs are relatively short. Its fur is usually sandy or greyish-brown in colour, with dark stripes running along its back and flanks. The head of the striped hyena is large in comparison to the rest of its body, and its ears are prominent. Its muzzle is elongated, and it has powerful jaws which are well suited for crushing bones. Its tail is short and bushy, and its claws are long and curved.

The striped hyena is well adapted to living in arid environments. Its fur provides insulation from the heat of the desert sun during the day, while at night it helps to keep the animal warm. Its short legs help it to move quickly across sandy terrain, while its curved claws enable it to dig for food or shelter when needed.

The striped hyena has excellent senses of sight, smell, and hearing which allow it to detect potential prey from a great distance away. It has a distinctive howl which can be heard up to five kilometres away, enabling it to communicate with other members of its species over long distances.

Habitat of Striped Hyena

The striped hyena is a species of hyena that is found in North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It lives in a wide array of habitats including deserts, steppes, savannas and scrublands. It prefers areas with sparse vegetation and rocky terrain where it can easily build its den. Striped hyenas are also known to inhabit cultivated lands such as fields, orchards and gardens. They are mainly active during night but can also be seen during the day in areas with less human disturbance.

Range of Striped Hyena

The range of striped hyenas extends from Morocco in northwest Africa to India in the east. In Africa, they are found mainly in Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia but have also been reported from Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. In the Middle East they occur throughout Israel and Palestine while in Asia they occur from Turkey to Afghanistan and eastwards to India. In India they can be found mainly in western states like Gujarat and Rajasthan while their range extends up to Himachal Pradesh in the north.

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Diet of Striped Hyena

Striped Hyenas are omnivorous mammals, meaning they feed on both plants and animals. They mostly feed on large herbivores such as wildebeests, hartebeests, zebras, and antelopes. They also scavenge for carrion and eat small vertebrates such as rodents, reptiles and birds. Striped Hyenas are also known to eat invertebrates such as insects and fish, which they sometimes catch from shallow water bodies.

Though Striped Hyenas mainly feed on larger herbivores, their diet also includes roots, fruits and grasses. They have been known to dig up the roots of shrubs in search of food. Fruits such as dates are an important dietary component for the striped hyena in some areas of its range. In addition to these plant sources, Striped Hyenas consume a variety of other items such as eggs, honeycomb and garbage left by humans in urban areas.

In general, the diet of Striped Hyena is highly varied but largely dependent on what is available in their range. They are opportunistic feeders that will consume whatever food is available to them at any given time. This flexibility allows them to survive in a variety of environments where other carnivores may not be able to thrive due to a lack of food sources.

Reproduction of Striped Hyena

Striped hyenas reproduce sexually, with the female generally giving birth to a single cub or sometimes two cubs after a gestation period of around three months. Cubs are usually born during the wet season in Africa, when food is more abundant. The cubs are born blind and helpless and are nursed by the female for around three months before they venture out of the den and start to explore their environment. They remain with their mother until they are about one year old, at which point they become independent.

Lifespan of Striped Hyena

The average lifespan of a striped hyena in the wild is between 12-14 years, although in captivity their lifespan can be extended to up to 20 years. Striped hyenas are solitary animals and only come together during mating or when defending territory. They live in small family groups that consist of one adult male, one adult female and two to three cubs. The female will defend her territory against intruders, while the male will defend his territory against other males.

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Social Structure

Striped hyenas are highly social animals and live in packs, typically consisting of five to ten animals. The pack is dominated by an alpha pair, which consists of a dominant male and female. The alpha pair rules over the rest of the pack and is responsible for leading hunts and defending their territory from intruders. The other members of the pack are usually related to each other and help out with raising cubs, hunting for food, and defending the pack’s territory. Striped hyenas also form alliances with other packs to gain access to resources and protect themselves from predators.


Striped hyenas use a variety of vocalizations to communicate with each other, including howling, barking, whimpering, growling, groaning, and wailing. They also use scent marking to communicate with each other by urinating on objects or rubbing their bodies against rocks or trees. This helps them mark their territory and identify members of their own species. Additionally, striped hyenas use facial expressions and body language to communicate with one another. For example, they may lick another’s face as a sign of submission or fluff up their fur when threatened or scared.


Striped hyenas are scavengers and opportunistic predators, but they can also be potential prey for larger carnivores. They are primarily hunted by lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, and jackals. These predators usually target young striped hyenas or those that are weak or sick. Striped hyenas may also be attacked by humans if they are perceived to be a threat to livestock or people.


The striped hyena is threatened by habitat loss due to human activities such as urbanization and agricultural expansion. The species is also vulnerable to hunting for its fur or for use in traditional medicine. The destruction of den sites is another major threat to the species, as it reduces the availability of suitable shelter for the animals. In addition, the striped hyena is at risk from inbreeding depression due to its small population size and limited range.


Striped hyenas are unique and interesting animals, with a wide range of adaptations that allow them to survive in harsh environments. Their sharp senses and strong social bonds make them an important part of their ecosystems. Striped hyenas may not be the most beautiful or cuddly creatures, but they are important to the environment and should be appreciated for their uniqueness.

It is important that we continue to research striped hyenas and understand how they fit into their ecosystems so that we can ensure their continued survival. With our help, these fascinating animals can continue to thrive for generations to come.

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Sony Kespes


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