Striped Hyena
Striped Hyena

Average Mass:
25 to 45 kg (55 to 99 lbs)

Average Shoulder Height:
65-80 cm (25 - 31 ")

Rowland Ward:


Striped Hyena Spoor

Track: 51mm (2") x 51mm (2")

Striped Hyena Distribution

The striped hyaena is recorded only in the northern and north-eastern part of Africa , its southernmost limit being in central Tanzania . A distribution map was given by Rieger (1981), but the more recent one in Estes (1991) was preferred and has been revised by Dr. M. G. L. Mills ( 25 March ‘97 ).

Categorical-discrete (CD) distribution model

The species prefers dry savanna and avoids desert areas such as the central Sahara (Nowak, 1991; Haltenorth & Diller, 1980; Rieger, 1981; Osborn & Helmy, 1980; Kingdon, 1997).

Hind legs are shorter and heavier than their forelegs.

  • Male and female hyenas look alike
  • Males are slightly larger in the striped species
  • The striped hyena's coat color varies from gray to light brown with vertical black stripes along the length of the body and dark, striped legs
  • Along their backs are darker, erectile crests
  • Coat hair is long, and develops a woolly undercoat in colder climates
  • Their heads and bodies reach 3 to 4 feet in length; tails are about 12.5 inches; and they weigh from 55 to 121 pounds
  • Striped hyenas may have longevity of up to 24 years in captivity

Master scavengers, they are able to consume and digest parts of prey that would remain untouched by other animals. They completely digest organic matter such as bones, while indigestible items such as hooves, horns, ligaments and hair are regurgitated in pellets.

The striped hyena can erect the long hair on its mane and appear 38% bigger.

It is thought striped hyenas are mainly scavengers rather that hunters, and a significant portion of their diet consists of insects, small mammals, birds eggs, even fruit and vegetables which are important sources of water.

The striped hyena forages principally at night, individually travelling throughout its home range searching for food in no apparent pattern. Travelling speeds average 2-4 km/h, occasionall increasing to 8 km/h when trotting. Wind direction is not used to determine direction of travel, but the striped hyena will respond quickly to the scent of carrion brought by the wind. It also visits established food sites, such as garbage dumps around human settlements, fruit trees, and temporary site of large kills. Water is consumed every night if it is available, but the striped hyena can survive without water for long periods and live under desert conditions.