Hyenas have always been skillful hunters and they can simply pull down large animals as antelopes or wildebeests. They are not choosy as they will consume almost anything ranges from birds, lizards, insects, to snakes. Hyenas also feed on zebras and gazelles. Hyenas exist in large numbers which is why they often outrun their competitors while hunting; even lionesses are forced to leave their hunt when hyenas arrive in groups. Although rarely, hyenas also scavenge on leftovers of animals. They hunt in groups comprising 3 to 5 individuals but larger numbers are also expected if it comes to hunting large-sized mammals. Hyenas have a keen sense of smell.
What Do Hyenas Eat in the Wild
The spotted hyena stands as an opportunistic hunter and it primarily finds easier ways to catch its prey. While these famed hunter-scavengers attack medium sized mammals, they usually prefer young mammals or calves that do not demand too much hard work. The wildebeest’s calves are one of the most popular diets of spotted hyenas. Hyenas often drag domestic animals from the populated areas and sometimes, other hyenas become their diets too. They normally consume the entire prey including bones and carrions, leaving behind nothing. Thanks to their forceful jaws which enable them to process the nutrients obtained from the bones of prey. Hyenas however, do not eat hair, hooves, and horns. They often hunt at night. Spotted hyenas do not drink too much water even though they consume bones. The rise in human population in Africa has brought both hyenas and human in perilous proximity. This indeed increases the likelihood of preying domestic animals.
Spotted hyena is the largest species of all hyenas and it has a greater stamina. It has the ability to bring down prey as large as a buffalo or sometimes young rhinoceros. Spotted hyenas are also known to attack humans sleeping in bushes. However, they never stalk their prey as they chase down with reasonable speed. Hyenas reach a speed of 35 mph (60 kph) while following their prey.
Striped hyenas consume the leftovers of vertebrates including all insects, birds, bird eggs, reptiles, and sometimes on small animals. These hyenas also eat fruits of Balinites. They primarily feed on kulan, tortoises, and wild boar. Unlike other carnivores, striped hyenas need water to survive because of their scavenging habit. Hyenas dwelling in eastern Jordan, prey on water buffalo and feral horse carcasses.
Read on these Hyena Facts for Kids to know more about them.