Information about: Hyena

Index | Hyena

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Hyena. A genus of carnivorous animals, containing three species. Two of these, the spotted hyena and the brown hyena, are entirely confined to the African continent, while the third species, the striped hyena, is found in northern Africa, and ranges over all the open country of India to the foot of the Himalayas, and through Persia and Asia Minor. These animals have a villainous appearance, and are covered with coarse bristly hair, short over the greater portion of the body, but produced into a mane along the ridge of the neck. The hind legs are shorter than the fore, giving the body a slope from the withers to the haunches. In size they are somewhat larger than a shepherd's dog. The cheek muscles are greatly developed, and the large carnivorous teeth have great conical crowns, giving to them the power of crushing the thigh bones of animals, and enabling them to procure their favorite morsel, the marrow. As carrion feeders they are useful scavengers. All the species are nocturnal in their habits.