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One of the most misunderstood animals, the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) has a reputation as being sly and cowardly but is, in fact, fascinating and intelligent with a remarkable social system. In appearance, the spotted hyaena is dog-like, with high shoulders and powerful forequarters sloping down to the hindquarters. It's course, short hair is sandy, ginger, dull grey or brown, and it gets its name from the dark spots on the back, flanks, rump, and legs, which fade with age. A short mane ends just behind the shoulders, and the short, brown tail has a black, bushy tip. The spotted hyena is the second largest carnivore in Africa after its archrival the lion, and possesses incredibly strong jaws and teeth, enabling it to crush heavy bones to obtain the nutritious marrow within. Female spotted hyenas can be up to 14 percent heavier and are more aggressive than males.

Spotted Hyena Subspecies



See Also