spotted hyena


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, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of spotted hyena was in 1771

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Cite this Entry

“Spotted hyena.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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