Hyenas Are No Laughing Matter

People who get their information about hyenas from children's stories and people who get information about creationists from atheists get the same result: fiction. In reality, hyenas are not cowardly scavengers, but relentless hunters with immense stamina and great speed. Strong, too. (Well, except for the one called the aardwolf, which is a kind of hyena but much smaller and eats creepy-crawly things.) And that noise some of these man-killers make that sounds like laughing? It isn't.

Pixabay / valerieBaron

The hyena is also an irritation to evolutionary classification. Where to put it on the failed tree of life? It has been considered in the dog family, the cat family and related to civets, having some characteristics of both cats and dogs. This creature is another testimony of the Creator — and neither the hyena nor its creator is to be trifled with.
Many people in the west are accustomed to thinking of the hyena only as a scavenger, as in The Lion King. Actually, three hyena species (the spotted, brown and striped hyenas) are both hunters and scavengers. The fourth species of hyena, the diminutive aardwolf, is insectivorous. As hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals (but may remain outside their lairs for a few hours after sunrise), most hunting or foraging for food occurs at night.

A spotted hyena gets most of its food by hunting, usually alone, and can bring down an adult wildebeest up to three times its bodyweight. But when hunting in packs of typically 10 to 25, they can kill prey as large as the giraffe and the African Cape buffalo! They do not use stealth. Hyenas are endurance hunters who doggedly chase the selected prey until a weaker member of the herd becomes winded and lags behind—then they close in for the kill. Their large hearts (10% of their bodyweight) provide them with the stamina to maintain a speed of 40–50 km/hr (25–30 mph) for over five kilometres (3 miles), and 60 km/hr (35 mph) for short distances. An adult hyena can eat 14 kg (30 lb) of meat in 10 minutes. A group of 23 hyenas has been observed to completely consume a full-grown wildebeest in just 13 minutes.
To read the rest of this surprising article, click on "The hyena—a creature we love to hate".