Matilda double majored in zoology and animal behavior at the University of Hawaii. She’s been an animal lover from a young age and knew she wanted to study them even more for her career. She’s always looking for ways to spread her animal knowledge.
Today’s animal of the day is the Brown Hyena.
The brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) is the rarest species of hyena in the world. Their numbers are estimated at below 10,000. This puts them on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “near threatened.”
Brown hyenas are found in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. You can also find them in parts of Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique, with the largest part of the population occurring in Botswana.
The brown hyena is also known as the “strandwolf,” a word of Afrikaans origin that translates to “beach wolf.” It is so named because of the animal’s habit of taking long walks along the beach, looking for food.
The brown hyena looks quite different from the other three species of hyena, with long, pointy ears, a short tail and an untidy, shaggy coat. It has long hairs on its neck, shoulders and back, which it is able to raise when it becomes agitated or threatened. Brown hyenas are aggressive animals, and the males are noticeably larger than the females.
These hyenas are scavengers, walking alone and traveling great distances in search of food. They have incredibly strong teeth and jaws, which they use to crush bones to get to the nutritious marrow on the inside. With their highly developed sense of smell, they are able to find carcasses many kilometers away.
Although they are more often seen walking around alone, they are social animals who live in groups called clans. A clan could consist of a mother and her offspring, or it could consist of up to 14 individuals.