Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) are social animals that live in large communities known as clans which can consist of many individuals. They are highly successful animals, being the most common large carnivore in Africa. Their success is due, in part, to their adaptability and opportunism. They are primarily hunters but may also scavenge, with the capacity to eat and digest skin, bones and other animal waste.
Hyenas love to have pool parties and swimming is almost always accompanied by plenty of rough-housing. There are those that don’t seem to mind splashes in their eyes, ears and nose and will allow themselves to be dunked under water, in addition to voluntarily sticking their heads under water as they swim and play.
Sometimes hyenas will snorkel about for any cached food they may have hidden under the water – it is a common practice for hyenas to hide carcasses under water and retrieve the meat later.
The other day some zebras that really wanted to drink, were approaching the pan, but a lone hyena barged in. This really irritated the cautious zebras, especially because the hyena started play romping around and wasting time. It drank noisily, waded about, sat down in the water and yawned, did some hopeful snorkelling and was just being obnoxious. The zebras refused to be easily spooked and eventually the stallion became confident enough to run at the hyena and chase it away. The hyena sped off, giggling with delight. I must say that my guests and I also had a good laugh at the antics of this fascinating animal. Hyenas are such complex creatures with individual characters.