Hyena mother spotted playing with adorable cubs in KNP

Posted by Anita Froneman on 19 January 2021

Any sighting of a family with young offspring in the wild is encouraging and lifts the spirits. Safari guide and tour operator, Tim Brown, recently posted a video of a hyena playing and enjoying some bonding time with her cubs at their den in the Kruger National Park.

‘You will also note interesting behaviour of greeting/social bonding by sniffing/licking of genitals. What is an amazing fact that you get to see in this video is that the largest Hyena right in front of the den, is the mother! You will look at her and say, No she has a penis. Yes, female Hyena have very high levels of male hormones in their body as they need to be larger and more dominant than the males. In Hyena clans it is the females who rule the roost,’ Brown said on Facebook. 

What you see is actually just an extension of her female genitalia.

‘Another interesting fact is they use this [organ] to mark territory and we call it “Pasting”. It is a secretion from the gland, which she pastes onto plants, leaving a scent mark to ward off other clans,’ he continued.

Brown added some interesting facts about these amazing animals:

–Hyenas are thought to just be scavengers, but they will hunt as a team and solo up to 50% of the time, dependant on access to food.

–Hyenas form a particularly important part of our natural system. They are part of natures “clean up team”. They crush up bones from carcasses returning nutrients to the soil and leaving splinters of bone for Vultures and other animals to get calcium in their diet.

–Hyena faeces are full of calcium due to the high amount of bone they consume. This then dries in the sun showing the powdery calcium deposits which can then be consumed by other animals like antelope for them to get the required calcium in their diet.

-Hyenas have longer front legs than back legs. This enables them to run long distances at a canter to find food (through smell) as well as using the long legs as leverage to tear meat from a carcass.

Take a look at the adorable mom and cubs:

Picture: Screenshot from Youtube

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