Morning visit to a hyena den Article by Crystal Perry
As the morning sun started to break the chill of the air, we arrived at a hyena den-site to see a large female spotted hyena. Hyenas often use termite mounds that are no longer active as their den-sites. They will usually use an already existing burrow (possibly made by an aardvark), and excavate more earth out of the burrow to make it large enough for the cubs and the females that stay with them. In this den-site there is a second entry on the other side which may help them escape danger. Luckily for us while we were there, a small bundle of black fur popped up from the entrance to inspect what was happening. The cub was very playful and it was magical to see the care provide by the female. Those little eyes watched us with interest, but stayed within the safety of the carer and the den. Young hyena cubs have a dark (almost black) coat for the first few weeks of life, with the longer hair and spots only appearing later. Judging by the colour and size, this cub was not much more than three weeks old. After taking a few photographs and enjoying witnessing the ‘tender’ side of hyena life, we left them to rest, and hope to have many more high quality sightings at or near this den.