When most people think of hyenas, they think of skulking, evil, dirty scavengers who slip from the shadows to steal and kill. This is not entirely correct but it is understandable from the marketing and advertising they receive from many documentaries. But, if you have had the pleasure of spending time with extremely adaptable and successful carnivores, you’d see a completely different picture. Their social structure is unique in the carnivore world, as the larger females (‘matriarchs’) run the clans and have strict female hierarchies. The much smaller males are extremely submissive, but have their own social hierarchies, with the strongest males earning the right to mate. In reality, life has a tough start for hyena cubs, with the females having notoriously narrow birth canals, which leads to a long pain intensive labour and birth. As such, many cubs do not survive the birth process. Social hierarchy begins from the very first days within the den, as a […]
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