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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Hyaenidae (hyenas)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Synapsida (mammal-like reptiles) > Therapsida > Theriodontia >  Cynodontia > Mammalia (mammals) > Placentalia (placental mammals) > Laurasiatheria > Ferungulata > Ferae > Carnivora

Species indigenous to southern Africa

Subfamily: Protelinae


Proteles cristatus (Aardwolf)

Subfamily: Hyaeninae


Parahyaena brunnea (Brown hyaena)

Predominantly a scavenger, but includes a wide range of small vertebrates, insects and fruits. Nocturnal and usually seen alone, although several animals may share a territory. The animals that share a territory are usually an extended family unit and will all assist with raising cubs. Nomadic males range through several territories and mate with receptive females. Unlike the Spotted hyaena this species is not particularly vocal.


Crocuta crocuta (Spotted hyaena)

Hyaenas belong to one of the few mammals where females are larger than males. The females are dominant to males in the “clan”, and each clan is lead by a dominant matriarch. They are mainly nocturnal but are seen during the day. Vocalizations are characteristic and easily recognized, including laugh-like whoops, howls and giggles as well as a variety of whines and groans.