Striped hyaena facts for kids

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Striped hyaena
Temporal range:
Middle Pleistocene – Recent
Striped hyaena at a zoo in Nepal
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Hyaenidae
Genus: Hyaena
Binomial name
Hyaena hyaena
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Striped hyena range

The striped hyaena (Hyaena hyaena) is a widespread small carnivore. It is native to North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is listed by the IUCN as near threatened, and the global population may be under 10,000 mature individuals. It is persecuted, and its prey base is declining.

It is the smallest of its genus and has many primitive viverrid characteristics which are lost in the larger species. For example, it has a smaller and less specialised skull.

It is mainly a scavenger, but large individuals may kill their own prey. Attacks on humans are rare, but do happen. The striped hyena is a monogamous animal, with both males and females assisting one another in raising their cubs. A nocturnal animal, the striped hyena only comes out in complete darkness, and is quick to return to its lair before sunrise. It has a habit of feigning death when attacked. It has also been known to stand its ground against larger predators such as leopards in disputes over food.

The striped hyaena features prominently in Middle Eastern and Asian folklore. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, where it is referred to as tzebua or zevoa, though the species is absent in some English translations.

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