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Discover the Wild Side: Top 10 Amazing & Amusing Hyena Fun Facts You Didn't Know

illustration of hyenas
Get ready to cackle with delight as you explore the fascinating world of hyenas through these entertaining and intriguing fun facts!

1. Queen Bees of the Savanna

Move over, Mean Girls: the hyena edition has unfolded in the Tanzanian savanna. Research has revealed that the queen bees of hyena clans don't need brute force to assert their authority – they rule with the paws-itive power of social support! In a decades-long study observing over 4000 hyena interactions, it turns out that assertiveness and alliances, rather than size or strength, dictated the pecking order among these cackling carnivores. So it seems that "Hyenas Who Lunch" really do get the lion's share!
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2. Hyena Showpiece Victims

Hyenas: the hilarious henchmen of the African savannah! Nope, they're not part of a dastardly hunting gang hired by local tribes; rather, they're the unfortunate victims of abduction and drugging by "hyena men" who use powerful narcotics to turn these wild animals into traveling showpieces: A tragic tale of exploitation and animal abuse that stands in stark contrast to their villainous portrayal in pop culture.
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3. Jaws of Laughter

Heard of the jaw-dropping jaw? Hyenas laugh all the way to the bank with their brawny chompers: The spotted hyena boasts a powerful bite force of 1,100 psi, surpassing even that of a lion, enabling them to easily crush bones and munch through antelopes, wildebeests or scavenged feasts.
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4. Gossip Girls of the Wild

Move over high-school cliques, hyenas reign supreme in the gossip circles of the animal kingdom: Spotted hyenas, according to a study from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, showcase "triadic closure" social bonding which entails choosing friends of friends for strengthening their social structure and fitness, with males sticking to rigid rules and females playing it cool and flexible.
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Pad-a-Bone Nightclub

5. Pad-a-Bone Nightclub

Entertainment Hyena-style: Leave it to these crafty critters to transform a lava tube into a swanky Pad-a-Bone nightclub for the millennia's poaching elite: The Umm Jirsan lava tube in northern Saudi Arabia was once a striped hyena hotspot, where party animals accumulated piles of gnawed bones from various species, including humans – although, fear not, these hyenas were more likely to scour graves for leftovers than to indulge in a grave-robbing rampage!
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6. Kardashians of the Animal Kingdom

Hyenas: the Kardashians of the animal kingdom, famous for drama, fierce competition, and no, not leaking explicit videos, but their equally complex social structure: Hyenas boast a clan hierarchy based on physical strength and aggression, and can recognize individual members with their highly intelligent minds – giving "remembering your roots" a whole new meaning in the savannah.
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7. Hyena Hustle

Who needs a lion's share when you've got hyena hustle: As it turns out, hyenas are more than just laughingstock scavengers, with spotted hyenas proving to be quite the skilled hunters, nabbing the title for a kill a whopping 53% of the time in shared carcasses with lions, as discovered by zoologist Hans Kruuk – even taking down large prey like buffalos and baby elephants solo or as a team!
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8. Female Hyena Curveball

Who said dating isn't hard in the animal kingdom? Mother Nature threw a curveball at the spotted hyena ladies and gifted them with their very own, membership-exclusive, pseudo-penis: cue the jaw drop for how this seriously affects their love and parenting lives. Female hyenas not only control the courting game by choosing their lucky partner but also spend a whopping 15 months breastfeeding and doting on their little ones.
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9. Laughing Crusaders

Did you hear about the hyena who auditioned for the role of the cleaner but got cast as the hero instead? Well, it turns out they’re natural environmental sanitizers: Spotted hyenas in eastern Africa help reduce the spread of diseases like anthrax and tuberculosis by scavenging discarded meat. A study found that by removing around 210 tons of carcasses per year outside of Mekelle, Ethiopia, they could potentially prevent about three human anthrax cases, two TB cases and around 140 cattle infections, saving over 50,000 USD in combined treatment costs. So give it up for these laughing crusaders!
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Sibling Rivalry: Hyena Edition

10. Sibling Rivalry: Hyena Edition

Talk about sibling rivalry: these little hyena cubs come out swinging and ready to rumble! No, seriously: Hyena cubs are born with fully developed teeth and eyes, engaging in competitive brawls from the get-go to establish dominance and secure more nurturing from their mother.
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