Belfast Zoo
Show Menu
Show Search

Striped hyaena

Hyaena hyaena

Striped hyaena

The striped hyaena, like the other members of the family Hyaenidae, may look similar to canines (the dog family) but are actually closer related to the cat and civet families.

The striped hyaena was often thought to be completely solitary, however, recent research shows that in some of its range it forms tightly knit family and social groups.

A male and a female will bond for life. The male helps to establish a den and also assists in raising young and feeding the female when she has cubs.

They may dig their own den or use a den that another animal has dug. They are mostly nocturnal, only leaving the den in darkness and returning to it before daylight.

Our female ‘Leah’ arrived in 2015 from ‘Africa Alive’ in Suffolk. She is most active in the morning and late evening.

Desert and Savannah

Diet - Omnivore
The striped hyaena is a scavenger and eats dead animals. It will also hunt live animals and eat fruit and insects.

Body length is up to 130 centimetres (cm) and it stands up to 80 cm at the shoulder. It weighs up to 55 kilograms.

It is found in dry areas from savannah to semi-desert in north Africa, The Middle East and India.

Conservation status
The IUCN considers the striped hyena to be likely to become threatened with extinction in the near future.

The striped hyaena is persecuted across its range. In some places, hyaena body parts are used in traditional medicines.

Current population
It is difficult to get accurate numbers for striped hyena populations. They are now extinct in some areas and populations are in decline.

Zoo population
There is an ESB for striped hyaena. There are over 185 striped hyena in zoos worldwide.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

ESB - European Studbook

Related links