Hyena are characterised by their bulky build, sloping back, brawnish coat, powerful jaws and dog-like expression. Despite looking superficially canine, they are more closely related to mongoose and bears than to cats or dogs. Contrary to popular myth, hyenas are not exclusively scavengers: the spotted hyena in particular ia an adept hunter capabel of killing an an animal as large as a wildebeest. Nor are they hermaphroditic, an anceint belief that stems from the false scrotum and penis covering the female hyena’s vagina.

Spotted Hyena in Swahili: fisi (Crocuta crocuta)

Shoulder height: 85 cm; weight: 70 kg. Sociable and fascinating to observe, the spotted hyena lives in loosly structured clans of about ten animals, led by females who are stronger than larger than males. It is the largest hyena, distinqguished by its blochily spotted coat, and it is most frequently seen at dusk and dawn in the encountered on a daily basis in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and many other reserves.

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