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Favorite Images of Hyenas
Animals list created by kathy
A list of my favorite images of hyenas.
Hyenas or hyaenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae of the feliform suborder of the Carnivora.
With only four species (the spotted hyena, the striped hyena, the brown hyena and the aardwolf), it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora, and one of the smallest in the class Mammalia. Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique and vital components of most African ecosystems.
Although phylogenetically they are closer to felines and viverrids, hyenas are perceived to be behaviourally and morphologically similar to canines in several aspects; both hyenas and canines are nonarboreal, cursorial hunters that catch prey with their teeth rather than claws.
Both eat food quickly and may store it, and their calloused feet with large, blunt, nonretractable nails are adapted for running and making sharp turns. However, the hyenas' grooming, scent marking, defecating habits, mating and parental behaviour are consistent with the behaviour of other feliforms.
Hyenas, especially spotted hyenas, are known for eating as much as 95% of the animals they kill and for driving off leopards or lionesses from their kills, although they have long been regarded as being cowardly scavengers.
Hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals but sometimes venture from their lairs in the early-morning hours. With the exception of the highly social spotted hyena, hyenas are generally not gregarious animals, though they may live in family groups and congregate at kills.
Hyenas first arose in Eurasia during the Miocene period from viverrid-like ancestors, and soon became well known as being of two distinct types: the lightly built dog-like hyenas and the robust bone-crushing hyenas.
Although the dog-like hyenas thrived 15 million years ago (with one taxon having colonised North America), they became extinct after a change in climate along with the arrival of canids into Eurasia.
Of the dog-like hyena lineage, only the insectivorous aardwolf survived, while the bone-crushing hyenas (whose extant spotted, brown and striped hyenas) became the undisputed top scavengers of Eurasia and Africa.
Hyenas feature prominently in the folklore and mythology of human cultures with which they are sympatric. Hyenas are commonly viewed as frightening and worthy of contempt, and are associated with witchcraft because their body parts are used as ingredients in traditional medicine.
In some cultures, hyenas are thought to influence people’s spirits, rob graves, and steal livestock and children.
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