Also known as Crocuta crocuta, the Spotted Hyena is an exciting wild animal that is always sought after during wildlife safaris in Uganda. It is recorded as the remaining member of the Crocuta genus and luckily, it is still widely spread in the savannah stretches of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Belonging to the Animalia Kingdom, the Chordata Phylum, Mammalia class, Carnivora Order, Hyaeninae Family, Genus Crocuta and Crocuta crocuta species, the Spotted Hyena features a population range of 27,000 – 47,000 individuals and is listed as species of least concern under the IUCN red list. However, their population is reducing due to poaching and habitat loss.
This Uganda Safari tour species originated from Asia and were widely spread in the sections of European continent over one million years past towards the end of the Pleistocene period. The spotted Hyena is notably the largest in the Hyaenidae family and it is differentiated by round ears, bear-like build, spotted pelt, less prominent mane, dual purpose dentition and fewer nipples along with Pseudo penis.
The female Hyenas have unique reproductive organ with the clitoris positioned and shaped like a penis and can erect. As a result, they do not have external vaginal offering as always explored on Uganda Safaris and tours.
The Spotted Hyena is considerably social and as a result thrives in extended groups compared to other carnivores. Interestingly, this large group size instead of enhancing cohesiveness, it only increases intense competition. The Spotted Hyenas feature intense racing for mating and food. Surprisingly, the males though they are the dominant members of their respective groups care less about their cubs and the survival of young ones depends entirely on females.
The Hyenas are very opportunistic and have high adaptability which explains their successful existence in African wilderness compared to other carnivores. They can hunt and scavenge as well with the capacity to eat the prey meat, skin, bones and any other matter. In fact they are noted to be most efficient of all African carnivores when it comes to utilizing of animal matter.
In Uganda, the Spotted Hyenas thrive in the savannah destinations of Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park and though they are not common sights, they are very fascinating if luckily explored on a Uganda tour.