spotted hyena

noun
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of spotted hyena

: a hyena (Crocuta crocuta) of sub-Saharan Africa that has a tan to reddish-brown coat with dark roundish spots, a large head, long muzzle, powerful jaws, and rounded ears
Note: In addition to being an efficient scavenger, the spotted hyena is a skilled hunter, preying on various large animals (such as wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras). The spotted hyena communicates using a variety of vocalizations including groans, squeals, laughs, whoops, and growls.
  • It's never wise to make a spotted hyena nervous. Among the deadliest of African predators, they can eat and digest whole carcasses, including skin and bones.
  • Natural History
  • … female spotted hyenas are bigger and more aggressive than males. Every clan is a matriarchy ruled by an alpha female.
  • —Steve Kemper
  • Biologists remained unsure why spotted hyenas giggle but theorized that the giggles may express frustration.
  • Harper's Magazine
called also laughing hyena

First Known Use of spotted hyena

1771


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