What is hyena?

What Does hyena Mean

The hyena is a nocturnal carnivorous animal that usually feeds on carrion . The term comes from the Latin word hyaena , in turn derived from the Greek word hýaina .

With a presence in Asia and Africa , this mammal catches its prey with its teeth and not with its claws. Although its bite is very strong, it usually feeds on kleptoparasitism : it takes advantage of prey that other animals have hunted and killed.
Except for the spotted hyena , the rest of the members of this family are not gregarious. However, they gather for the hunt, communicating with each other by howls that resemble a human laugh with chilling or macabre characteristics.

Gregarious animals are those that have the tendency to group together to carry out their daily activities, that is, they prefer or need life in community . Although there are different terms to designate the social groups of animals, they are not so different from those of human beings.
The fur of hyenas is thick and rough but sparse, yellowish or grayish in color. There are species that present a mane on the head or the cross.
In colloquial language, the idea of ​​hyena is used to describe a person who is cruel or brutal . This meaning is linked to the unpleasant image that the hyena produces in humans due to the sounds it emits (which are disturbing), feeding on carrion and keeping the prey that other animals hunted.
Suppose a man is credited with the murder of several children. This subject, according to the investigators, used various tricks to attract the children to his home and there he brutally killed them. When presenting the news, a journalist defines him as a “hyena” . Of course, the evil that humans show is not present in the animal, which acts on instinct.
For all the above, the hyena is an animal that stars in a large number of myths , some of which are used as a justification for hunting it and thus increasingly threatening its survival as a species. Experts say that most of these claims are false and that we should really know it to appreciate it and stop being afraid of it.
One of the most widespread myths is that "the stained ones are hermaphrodites ", that is, they have a male and a female sexual organ. While hermaphroditism occurs in many species of the animal kingdom, it is definitely not the case with the hyena. The reason for this belief is that females have an external clitoris that has the appearance of a penis, which becomes erect in various situations.

This myth goes hand in hand with another according to which the only way to recognize the sex of a spotted hyena is through dissection. The reality is very different: from three months of age it is possible to distinguish males from females . During erection, the end of the penis is different from that of the female phallus, since the former is pointed and the latter is "barrel" shaped.
Hyenas are also said to only eat carrion , and this is not true in all cases. Although the brown and striped ones include carrion in their diet, they also supplement it with prey that they capture themselves, with invertebrates and with fruits. A clear example that serves to invalidate this myth is found in the feeding of hyenas called earth wolves , which have a diet composed exclusively of termites and ants.

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