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Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

Spotted hyena
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Personal Information
The Zoo is home to one spotted hyena, a male named Lou, born in 1992. Lou has been here at the Zoo since 1999. Keepers say Lou is playful, and he will run along the fence when people he knows are running along the outside. He also loves to play with toys, especially hard plastic balls.

Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern.

The spotted hyena occurs in many different habitats. It can live in extremely hot and arid lowland areas as well as cold, mountainous terrains in East Africa and Ethiopia. The spotted hyena inhabits the African savannah, the desert fringe and edges of tropical rainforests.

Though often labeled incorrectly as a scavenger, the spotted hyena is a powerful hunter. The majority of its nourishment is derived from live prey. Hyenas hunt hoofed mammals such as antelope, zebra and buffalo, but sometimes eat fruits, vegetables and carrion.

  • The spotted hyena is the largest subspecies of hyena, with males weighing between 123 and 138 pounds and females weighing between 147 and 165 pounds.
  • Females are larger than the males and they are the dominate sex.
  • Hyenas are efficient predators since they are capable of digesting bones, horns and even teeth.
  • The high, cackling giggle typically given by a hyena being chased expresses intense fear or excitement, and gives the name laughing hyena.