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Spotted Hyena


Quick Facts

Scientific name: Crocuta crocuta
Class: Mammal
Length: 35 to 60 inches (88 to 152 centimeters)
Shoulder height: 29.5 to 33 inches (75 to 85 centimeters)
Weight: 100 to 190 pounds (45 to 86 kilograms)
Life span: 21.1 years (MLE)
Gestation: about 110 days
Number of offspring: 1 to 4
Size at birth: 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms)
Age of maturity: 3 years
Conservation status: Lower risk


Where this hyena can be spotted

You can find the spotted hyena in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the Serengeti plains and Ngorongoro Crater areas of Tanzania. They prefer the open, dry climate of semi-desert, savannah, and mountainous forest areas of Africa.

A varied predator

Hyenas will prey on small mammals, birds, lizards, snakes and insects, but they will also hunt larger hoofed animals such as wildebeest or antelope.

We feed them a carnivore diet and bones at the Zoo.

Social hunters

Spotted hyenas live in groups called clans. Clans, which are led by females, may have up to 80 hyenas. Spotted hyenas are fast runners and can run long distances without tiring.

What’s so funny?

Hyenas are one of the noisiest African animals. They’re sometimes called laughing hyenas because of their high, cackling laugh. But you’ll only hear this sound as a sound of submission from a hyena.

How often are baby hyenas born?

Females are capable of producing a litter an average of every 16 months. Spotted hyena offspring are independent by 18 months.

What do they look like?

Hyenas have a sandy, yellowish or gray coat with black or dark brown spots. The spots are darker in younger animals.


Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.