Hyenas comprise four carnivore species of the family Hyaenidae, with body shapes similar to wolves; awkward-looking hind legs shorter than the front legs; good hearing; good vision; and a good sense of smell. Sizes range from small aardwolves to large spotted hyenas. All inhabit grasslands and shrubby areas in Africa, the Middle East, and Arabia. Some species form packs; others live alone. Most scavenge anything they find, including carrion. Aardwolves eat carrion but prefer termites. Hyenas mate year round and have two- to fourmonth gestation periods, depending on species.
Physical Characteristics of Hyenas
The physical characteristics of three of the four hyena species are exemplified by the spotted hyena, the largest, strongest species. Their maximum length is six feet, height three feet, and weight 175 pounds. Spotted hyena hind legs are shorter than their front legs, making them look awkward. They also have four-toed paws and manes of coarse hair on the neck, shoulders, and back. The adults are a brown-gray with brown spots, and have large heads, bone-crushing jaws, and an eerie, "laughing" cry, like hysterical human laughter. Laughing (spotted) hyenas were long thought to be carrion-eaters only. It is now clear that they are major predators of live herbivores such as zebras. They attack in packs at night, bite their victims, and hold on until the prey stumbles. They kill by tearing open the belly of the prey. Spotted hyenas kill other carnivores as well, such as striped and brown hyenas. Striped and brown hyenas have manes, short hind legs, and bone-crushing teeth. They are smaller and less aggressive than laughing hyenas, inhabiting grassy and shrubby areas of Africa, India, and the former U.S.S.R. Their gray-brown, black-striped fur is fine camouflage. Like other hyaenids, striped hyenas eat carrion. They also eat fruit, small mammals, birds, and sometimes large herbivores, such as antelope. They grow to maximum lengths of 5.5 feet, heights of 2.5 feet, and weights of 125 pounds. Spotted hyenas hunt at night in small packs. Brown hyenas are dark brown with gray heads and striped legs. Theirmaximumlength is 4.5 feet, and they reach 120 pounds. They inhabit the dry, rocky Southern African deserts, usually traveling alone. As scavengers they eat anything available, including carrion and bones picked clean by vultures, using strong teeth to crack bones for marrow. Aardwolves, honorary hyenas, inhabit much of Africa. They are hyaenid by appearance, as their backs slope down from shoulder to tail due to short hind legs. They have reddish, blackstriped fur and manes on their necks and shoulders. When attacked, aardwolves erect the mane to look fiercer and spray evil-smelling musk from perineal glands. Aardwolves differ from hyenas in having fivetoed front feet. Aardwolf teeth are small and suitable only for eating their main food, termites and other insects. Their maximum length is 2.5 feet, their height is 1.5 feet, and their weight is twentyfive pounds. The termites that aardwolves eat are active at night, so aardwolves are nocturnal and eat termites with their long, sticky tongues. Aardwolves live alone and mark territories with musk, denning in empty burrows of other animals.
Thanks for description - Animal life club