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Striped Hyena (Hyaena hyaena)

The striped hyena lives in arid, mountainous regions with scrub woodland. It dens in rocky hills, ravines, and crevices. It also inhabits open savannah areas with dense grassland in some regions. In Africa, it is outcompeted by the spotted hyena in open areas and is thus relegated to other habitats. They can be found in Northern and Eastern Africa, the Middle East, India, and Asia extending north to the Caucasus and southern Siberia.


Height: 65-80 cm The average length of the striped hyena from head to tail is one meter. Males and females do not differ in average height or length, but males do tend to be slightly heavier. They are a long-haired hyena with large, pointed ears. The striped hyena can erect the long hair on its mane and appear 38% bigger, which it does when it feels threatened. They are gray to straw-colored with a black muzzle and black stripes on their head, torso, and legs.


The striped hyena is predominantly a scavenger; its diet consisting mainly of carrion and human refuse. It scavenges large and medium-sized mammals, such as zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, and impalas, even eating bones from carcasses if the meat has been picked off. It supplements its diet with fruit, insects, and occasionally by killing small animals like hare, rodents, reptiles, and birds. The striped hyena forages principally at night, individually travelling throughout its home range searching for food in no apparent pattern. Travelling speeds average 2-4 km/h, occasionally increasing to 8 km/h when trotting. Wind direction is not used to determine direction of travel, but the striped hyena will respond quickly to the scent of carrion brought by the wind. It also visits established food sites, such as garbage dumps around human settlements, fruit trees, and temporary sites of large kills. Water is consumed every night if it is available, but the striped hyena can survive without water for long periods and live under desert conditions.

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Taken on July 6, 2008