Hyena cubs being suckled at their den – Maasai Mara 2019

The gentle side of the hyena. Hyena cubs being suckled at their den. Hyena were prevalent in the Maasai Mara. We saw them battling with lions over food, harassing both cheetah and leopard. There was also an unsuccessful attempt to run zebra to ground. In this film we can see their more gentle side. One might even go as far as to say they are cute!

Hyenas are fascinating animals. Males and females have very prominent genitals with the females mimicking the males. Females have an erectile clitoris which looks very much like the male’s penis. She also has a pseudoscrotum. So sexing hyenas is difficult. At den sites one usually only finds females since the males disperse and are frightened of the larger females. They mostly interact for breeding purposes. All females in a clan breed and they den their cubs together. But an individual female will only suckle her own cubs. Cubs can be born any time of the year, usually in litters of 1-2. Fascinatingly, twins are usually of different sexes. On the rare occasions that the twins are the same sex, they will fight. If the twins are female then one of them will kill her sister. So may be not so cute after all.