Striped Hyena Fact File


The striped hyena has shaggy fur across its body which creates a mane running down its back. During aggressive encounters they will raise it.

Striped hyenas have a coat which is colored pale brown and has vertical bars running along the flank. A dark brown or black patch is visible under the chin.

Often the forelimbs are longer than their hindlegs which means their back slopes downwards. They have large ears sticking out on top of the head.

At the end of the body is a fluffy tail measure up to 20cm (8in) long.

Their body measures between 1 and 1.2m (3.25-4ft) long with an average weight of 24.9-44.9kg (55-99lbs). At the shoulder they stand 66 to 75cm (26 to 30in) tall.


The striped hyena is an omnivore. They feed on carrion, fruit, insects and small animals including rodents, reptiles and birds. Their teeth are strong enough to break through bone.

These animals are scavengers which will even steal a kill from an African lion or cheetah. Despite this they are scared of their larger cousin, the spotted hyena and will not work to defend their kill against them.

Along with being a scavenger they are also able to take down prey such as sheep, goats and donkeys.

Their digestive system is able to digest almost all of their food except the horns, hooves and hair which is regurgitated.

striped hyena

Scientific Name

Hyaena hyaena

Conservation Status

Near Threatened





1-1.2m (3.25-4ft)


66-75cm (26 to 30in)


Wild 10-12 years

Captive 20-25 years



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Striped hyenas have the largest range of any hyena species. Their range takes in parts of Asia, the middle East and Africa.

Here they can be found throughout the following countries - Afghanistan; Algeria; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Chad; Djibouti; Egypt; Ethiopia; Georgia; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Lebanon; Libya; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Nepal; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Uzbekistan; Western Sahara and Yemen.

Their current presence in the following countries is uncertain - Benin; Central African Republic; Eritrea; Guinea; Kuwait; Qatar; Somalia; Sudan; United Arab Emirates.


Due to their wide range they inhabit a number of different habitats. These include light thorn bush country, scrub woodlands, savannas, grasslands, oak forests and semi-arid environments.

They will come close to human habitations and feed on garbage and carrion.

striped hyena


Their breeding does not follow a set pattern. These animals are polygamous and both genders have multiple partners.

Females give birth to their young in a den or burrow. Here they can have between one and four pups. These pups are born after a 88 to 92 day gestation period. At birth the young are blind with the eyes opening at one day old.

By 30 days old they will first try meat though the mother may provide milk for up to a year while they learn how to hunt.

The female will tolerate them for up to two years before she will send them off on their own.

Sexual maturity is reached between two and three years old.


These animals are almost strictly nocturnal emerging at night to find food.

Small groups of striped hyenas may form in which the females are the most dominant individuals meaning there is not one than more female in each group.

During the day the group will rest in a natural cave or a burrow they have dug. They may take over the den of another animal.

Striped hyenas have a small set of calls which includes a whine, giggle, yell, growl or call.

striped hyena

Predators and Threats

Lions are one of the main natural predators for the striped hyena.

These animals are affected by declines in the numbers of other large carnivores such as the wolf, cheetah, leopard, lion or tiger as this decreases the amount of carrion available for them to consume.

Humans also impact their population through poisoning and trade in their skins and body parts. They may be turned in to traditional medicines. Some also face retaliatory killings after they kill livestock.

Small numbers of these animals are kept as pets in parts of their range.

Quick facts

The closest relatives of the hyena are the mongoose and meerkats.

striped hyena

Photo Credits


Under License

Middle One and Two

By Rushikesh Deshmukh DOP - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


By zoofanatic - Striped hyena, CC BY 2.0,


Ambrose, J., 2015. Wildlife Of The World. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley

National Geographic Society (U. S.), 2012. National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia. Natl Geographic Soc Childrens Books.

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

AbiSaid, M. & Dloniak, S.M.D. 2015. Hyaena hyaena. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T10274A45195080. Downloaded on 31 March 2021. 2021. Striped Hyena – Zoo Boise. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2021].

Naples Zoo. 2021. Striped Hyena. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2021].

Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. Hyena | mammal. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2021]. 2021. Striped Hyena | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2021].

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