In Africa, the overlap of range between the striped hyenas, spotted hyenas, and aardwolf often make surveys increasingly difficult as few people know how to differentiate these species. Understanding The Relationship Between Hong Kong And China, Presidents Who Did The Most To Improve Black Rights. The laughing noise of the Spotted Hyena was found incredibly eerie and supported the beliefs of the native Africans that they could speak human language. "The clitoris is enormously elongated to form this fully erectile pseudopenis through which they urinate, copulate and give birth," says Holekamp. We can’t get enough of those darn hyenas. Similar to primates, the brain region associated with complex decision-making appears to be enlarged in hyena brains. Given this, it should come as no surprise that the vocal repertoire of spotted hyenas is several times as rich as that of other hyenas, or for that matter, lions. Re: Are the hyenas evil? Some people say that all hyenas are owned by witches -- that there are no free or wild hyenas....At regular intervals, all witches of the land ride their hyenas to a prearranged place in the forest for a saturnalian gathering, where they boast of their evil deeds and perform obscene rites." Spotted hyenas will often perform a "greeting ceremony": standing side-by-side and head-to-tail, each sniffing the erected phallus of the other. The Hyena family is usually looked down upon by the majority. When Scar is accepting rule as king, he tells the lionesses of \"a new era, in which lion and hyena come together in a great and glorious future.\" The hyenas swarm Pride Rock and reinforce Scar's corruption of the pride. So unique, in fact, that for centuries people assumed the spotted hyena had to be a hermaphrodite. Spotted hyenas vary in their folkloric and mythological depictions, depending on the ethnic group from which the tales originate. With such an unsavoury history, it’s no surprise pop culture depictions of hyenas have followed suit. But to those who understand spotted hyenas, it is simply an effective way for them to establish and maintain contact with each other over a distance. Later, Scar meets with the hyena… They are supporting antagonists in the anime-only movies One Piece: The Movie and Clockwork Island Adventure. What is this bizarre genital apparatus about? Countries That Don't Recognize Dual Citizenship. The clitoris is enormously elongated to form this fully erectile pseudopenis. I don't mean they are bad in the way a Disney villain normally is, they are a force of evil more than a specie of animal, corrupting both the land and the minds of animals than get close to them. "Striped hyenas play a very vital role in maintaining an ecosystem – apart from getting rid of biological waste by their scavenger habits; they also act as pest control. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed hyena parts were effective shields against evil and ensured fertility. The hyena is a pathetic fool in The Lion King, but these feminist freaks are the brains of the savannah — and smarter than your average carnivore. That is wrong, at least for spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta). Despicable. (The Walt Disney Company is … Females dominate males and have no vaginal opening, but they do sport an impressive, fully erectile clitoris. In Tanzania and India legends say that witches ride hyenas. According to legend, the city’s thick perimeter walls were altered to give the animals easy access to Harar, allowing entry through small openings, or “hyena doors”. According to Satyanarayan: "The striped hyena is an underrated species that deserves more conservation attention. They are considered to be mounts of witches in some parts of the country. Early on, the hyenas were seen as evil manipulative animals who had the ability to imitate humanspeech and lure out the poor victim to later eat it. Unusually high levels of testosterone during early development could make their genitalia develop in this unusual way. Spotted hyenas are the largest of three hyena species. The highest ranking female gets first dibs on any kills, which helps her to reproduce more quickly and successfully than females further down the pecking order. Reputation: Hyenas are ugly villains that only eat dead things, sometimes lions, sometimes even humans. This is not the case in the other two, more traditionally familial hyena species. "The biggest gathering we've ever seen had 72 animals in it," says Holekamp. This trio is definitely scarier, their high pitched laugh and maniacal behavior is absolutely unsettling at times and the Hyena army that ends up being created is reminiscent of a war movie. The female appendage is a strange concept to get your head around, but there’s a perfectly natural biological reason for this. Read about our approach to external linking. This stereotype, I suspect, may prevent us from seeing hyenas as they really are. They are all part of the food chain that keeps the ecosystem in balance. Its weight may vary between 90 and 190 pounds. "That is something that is totally unique.". Another big challenge is crowd control. Sly and sleazy, malicious and menacing, ugly and evil - these are only some of the vilest of titles the human world has granted to the hyenas. Hyena, (family Hyaenidae), also spelled hyaena, any of three species of coarse-furred, doglike carnivores found in Asia and Africa and noted for their scavenging habits. When the male hyena reaches sexual maturity at the age of two, he leaves home and goes to find a new group. "Hyena populations in India are far few and far in between, and there hasn’t been any official estimate of their numbers. The article here discusses why it is time we stop misunderstanding the hyenas and shower some attention and tenderness to these wild beasts. IUCN estimates suggest that there are around 5,000 to 10,000 mature individuals of striped hyena species in the wild. But these will often coalesce into huge aggregations. This group of four living species of feliform carnivores belonging to the Hyaenidae family has been left unloved by Homo sapiens throughout history. Though many people compare hyenas to dogs, they are actually much more like cats. Except for the striped hyena that has a wider distribution, the remaining three species are limited to Africa. The hyena's digestive system has adapted to maximize the nutritional value of animal remains; only the horns, hooves, and hair are regurgitated," informed Satyanarayan. The all-new movie, The Lion King, which Disney releases July 19, again portrays a trio of spotted hyenas as evil sidekicks of the villain Scar. Their total population in India is yet to be determined. According to him, man-animal conflict, poisoning, habitat destruction, hunting, and poaching for body parts are the biggest threats to the striped hyena populations in India. We know this because Holekamp and her colleagues have passed dozens of skulls through a CT scanner to create virtual images of hyena brains. Each hyena uses sounds, smells and visual cues to recognise others in their clan. If this sounds like it might be uncomfortable, then just imagine what it's like to deliver a 1.5-kilogram foetus from the same orifice. The members of this group are Danny, Denny, and Donny. Hyena Legends The hyena’s intense cunning, combined with its unnerving laughter, has caused hyenas to become associated with all manner of evil—hyenas are claimed to rob graves, steal children, and wield sinister supernatural powers. They can be found in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka," informed Kartick Satyanarayan, the Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS. Some tales describe how dark witches use hyenas as their mounts while others narrate how hyenas kidnap human children to feast on them. "Imagine trying to keep track of 130 different hyenas," says Holekamp. So, that sometimes human kill spotted hyenas for the same reason and sometimes for the self-defense. "She always has the option of flushing the whole system," says Holekamp. Reports such as the ones mentioned above are not just common in India but in other parts of the hyena's range as well. Spotted hyena clans can contain up to 130 individuals, more than an order of magnitude greater than any other carnivore. Spotted hyena society is also notable for the dominance of its females over its males. In makes the successful conservation of hyenas a near to impossible task. One possibility is that it helps the members of a clan recognise each other. Sly and sleazy, malicious and menacing, ugly and evil - these are only some of the vilest of titles the human world has granted to the hyenas. Witches are believed to ride hyenas naked through the night carrying torches they refuel with hyena butter. (Credit: imageBROKER / Alamy). Brown and striped hyenas are the other two. People are always curious to get a closer look at the animal and they try to take pictures of it while the rescue operation is being carried out. The striped hyena's range stretches from North and East Africa to West and Central Asia, and further east to the Indian subcontinent. Take, for example, the case of the striped hyena in India. Shenzi, Banzai and Ed have truly found a place in our hearts. They occupy a wide range of habitats including savanna, grassland, shrubland, forest, and inland wetlands. "In a recent incident, an approximately 3-year-old male striped hyena was brutally attacked in a village in Uttar Pradesh and brought to Wildlife SOS’ center for treatment. In the musical, they are revealed to be one of the reasons the Pridelands has depleted, as they had forced the lionesses to overhunt. They are protected under Schedule III of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 but not much research has been carried out about this elusive species. In case you're wondering, I did not share any of this lurid detail with my mother-in-law. About 12 to 6 million years back, the Hyaenids were much diverse with around 24 species with a sprawling range through Eurasia and Africa. In a way, this is understandable. Then they whoop with laughter. The smallest spotted hyena clans are about the same size as a big lion pride or big wild dog or wolf pack. In fact, they are members of the suborder Feliformia, which is a classification for cat-like carnivores, according to Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Hyenas have long forelegs and a powerful neck and shoulders for dismembering and carrying prey. In the Middle Ages, hyenas were believed to dig up and consume the bodies of the dead. An Ethiopian folk religion tells of people who possess the evil eye and can change themselves into the creatures. The chances of survival of the hyena appeared bleak as the animal had sustained severe spinal fracture leading to hind limb paralysis. This is a sentence she has clearly delivered before because she fires this volley of explicit words at me in less than 8 seconds: I timed it. "In India, striped hyenas occur in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, as well as in the extremely wet regions of the south-western coast of India. (The Walt Disney Company is majority owner of National Geographic Partners.Though spotted hyenas of East and southern Africa are the most … However, they can be quite aggressive and vengeful when Scar puts the blame of his evil plot of them, which led to his demise at their jaws. Sad enough that the rest carelessy obeys. Hyena vs predators. It is the largest among the three species of hyenas. The hyena’s story in the bestiary is an allegory for the temptations of the devil and the importance of living a Christian life. To the uninitiated, there is something undeniably sinister about this call, particularly when it comes in the pitch darkness of an African night. Incidents such as this make it imperative for us to spread awareness about the species and sensitize the public to their plight, as they struggle to gain a foothold in the shrinking forests. Later, when Scar's cover is blown, the evil king orders the hyenas to kill all the other lions. This article is for my mother-in-law. 5 … View image of A spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) (Credit: Heather Paul, CC by 2.0), View image of Spotted hyenas will often tackle herds of zebras (Credit: Uwe Skrzypczak / Alamy), far larger brains than the other two species, View image of Hyenas live in big packs and are very social (Credit: blickwinkel / Alamy), View image of This female hyena (right) has an erect pseudopenis (Credit: Danita Delimont / Alamy), View image of This female hyena doesn't exactly look impressed (Credit: blickwinkel / Alamy), View image of Any questions? "This is bigger by an order of magnitude practically than any other carnivore group. Hyenas are often referred to as evil hermaphrodites, a myth that needs immediate dispelling. Loosely based on spotted hyenas of sub-Saharan Africa, they are out and out villains, totally evil, cowardly and aggressive. The hyenas in both cartoons serve an evil lion. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com. It is also possible that such a bizarre reproductive tract gives a female some control over the father of her offspring. But this seems a little over the top. The Striped Hyena was believed to provide magic an… Indeed, one cannot forget The Lion King remake where hyenas have been portrayed as sinister, cringing, and crafty creatures acting as sidekicks to the rogue lion Scar. But "nobody really understands yet quite what it's there for," says Holekamp. CT scan tests have compared hyena brains with those of some primates and revealed astounding results. The nocturnal, solitary, and elusive nature of these animals complicate things further. The 3 hyenas names are Shenzei, Banzai, and Ed. In most cases, we rescue hyenas that were victims of human-animal conflict or poaching. "All it takes is a little brain power!". While the masses continue to disregard the hyenas, those who have studied these animals in detail recognize them as social beings with high levels of intellect. Spotted hyenas are not scavengers, but hunt down at least 50% of their own food. A more likely alternative is that female hyenas have been naturally selected for their size and aggression. The female spotted hyena urinates, copulates and gives birth through her clitoris. Ouch. They are the allies of the evil uncle of the future lion king, Scar, and said to have wiped out all life in the land in which they live. Each species of hyenas also have their distinct ecological roles. This also revealed that spotted hyenas have particularly enlarged forebrains, the region involved with complex decision-making. Banzai isn't quite as bright as Shenzi. Hyenas are supposed to bear their young in a witch's house, and the witch milks the hyena. ", Imagine trying to keep track of 130 different hyenas. What's not to like? The spotted hyena is not a habitual scavenger, despite what you may have heard, and it is fabulously intelligent to boot. An Ethiopian folk religion tells of people who possess the evil eye and can change themselves into hyenas. Some claim the hyenas rid Harar of evil spirits (or jinn), and that they clean away the rotting garbage strewn across its streets. When Scar promised they'd never go hungry again, of course the hyenas would do anything he asked of them. But perhaps the strangest thing about female spotted hyenas is their reproductive anatomy. [Lion King] The Hyenas are literally evil. Like the hyena in the graveyard, the devil is constantly circling. If you succumb to evil, your soul will be consumed. One of the most oft-touted tropes about hyenas is that they are scavengers, stealing most of their food from more upstanding species like lions and (according to Pliny the Elder) sometimes even digging up graves in search of human corpses. Hyenas have also beaten chimpanzees in some cooperative problem-solving tests. A lot of very clever people have thought long and hard about precisely this question. With valuable inputs from Wildlife SOS, a non-profit associated with the rescue, care, rehabilitation, and conservation of wildlife in India, the article also focusses on the conservation issues tormenting the striped hyena species in India. The all-new movie, The Lion King, which Disney releases July 19, again portrays a trio of spotted hyenas as evil sidekicks of the villain Scar. The hyenas were mainly perceived as being crazy, greedy and dimwitted, as they resent the lions for being \"at the top of the food chain,\" and are willing to work for Scar to gain hunting rights in the Pride Lands. King Ahadi comes to the rescue just in time, with his sons Mufasa and Taka (Scar) in tow, and demands that the hyenas leave. Today, the Hyaenidae family includes only four extant species - the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), the brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea), and the aardwolf (Proteles cristata). Naming those guilty of corruption as hyenas offered a way to paint profiteers as evil cowards, and government by implication as good heroes. "The most common challenge we face is changing people’s mindset. Like a good son-in-law, I begged to differ. The Hyena Three are the subordinates of the two main antagonists in the first two films. They're freaky and they certainly help make Scar more evil overall. The Hyena Three are anime-only villains in the anime One Piece. During sexual intercourse, this organ is flaccid but the male still has to insert his erect penis into the clitoris. The lack of scientific research studies and reliable census data on these animals speaks volumes about our indifference towards them. In western African tales, spotted hyenas are sometimes depicted as bad Muslims who challenge the local animism that exists among the Beng in Côte d’Ivoire They are larger in size and more aggressive than their male counterparts. A couple of weeks ago, she came by our house and started ranting about hyenas and what evil, good-for-nothing creatures they are. If a hyena can recognise clan-mates by more conventional sensory means, does she really need a pseudopenis? Hyenas are frequently portrayed as evil in fiction. Probably none. However, such a physiological adaptation actually makes the hyenas excellent endurance runners, allowing them to run long distances. The hyenas were featured in two spin-off books of The Lion King, set before the events of the original film.In A Tale of Two Brothers, the young hyenas appear at the beginning where they surround a helpless Rafiki who had just arrived in the Pride Lands. Over the years, we have seen some terrible situations, where the hyenas were so violently attacked that they ended up with severe head trauma and ruptured eyes. Not only does it make it challenging for a male to insert his penis, but the bladder also empties into the same channel. Striped hyenas are no exception. Sad also, that this is one important part Scar's plan to become king. Another clan she is studying contains 130 individuals, though these have not been observed in the same place at the same time. But to say that their external genitals are far-out is to put it mildly. Issues around keystone species such as the tiger or the elephant tend to get a bigger conservation platform," he stated. Despite our best efforts, the hyena succumbed to its injuries. Female hyena are the dominant leaders within clans. Spotted hyenaThe spotted hyena is the largest species, and it grows to 4 to 5.9 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) long an… The skins of this species are illegally traded and body parts are used in traditional medicine. They’re sassy, evil, and punny, and those are three traits that we can get behind. If you saw a spotted hyena loping back to its den with clearly distended mammary glands, you would probably guess it was a female. Such actions are dangerous and may lead to untoward accidents, if not managed properly," revealed Satyanarayan. Lions scavenged spotted hyena kills more often than the other way round. Scientific Name The scientific name for hyena is Hyaenidae , which doubles as the animal’s taxonomic family that includes four extant species dispersed over three genera. Amongst female spotteds, there is a strict hierarchy. "There is no population, anywhere in Africa, where they don't hunt down at least 50% of their own food," says spotted hyena expert Kay Holekamp of Michigan State University in East Lansing, US. In fact, of the four hyena species, the striped hyena and the brown hyena are labeled as "Near Threatened" on the IUCN Red List while the others are "Least Concern" species. Evil beings don't care if they have friends or not. The hyenas are then seen present during the final battle against Scar as Scar and the hyenas corner Simba with Scar explaining to him that if he is really a true king or not before trying to fall off the ledge in despondency. More often than not, they hunt down their prey rather than scavenge. Hence, conservation of the hyenas also attracts spare attention. Some folk religion tells people who possess the evil eye and can change themselves into the creatures like the hyena. If you kill a hyena, the witch will kill you through magic. 10. They are also hermaphrodites, aren't they? So whether you’re a future king or an average joe, sit … All quite nasty, one would say! Involved in the rescue of hyenas from various conflict situations, the concerned team of Wildlife SOS also faces numerous practical challenges during the rescue operations which reveal a lot about the plight of the striped hyenas and people's judgment of these animals. Spotted hyenas are not the same as striped hyenas or brown hyenas. They are often depicted as either insane Ax-Crazy sadists, as stupid Dirty Cowards, as a horrific Monster Clown, or as the occasional Terrible Trio.The majority of the time, however, they're depicted as dirty, smelly Villainous Gluttons.These hyenas also have a fondness for laughing and a fear (and hatred) of lions. There are plenty of sordid myths and legends about hyenas. Most of these conflict situations arise due to fear and misconceptions about this species. In the Disney movie the Lion King, Scar the evil lion ordered 3 hyenas. by WhatDoWeHaveHere » November 16th, 2015, 1:13 am Okay, so maybe the hyenas aren't evil considering they've been banned from the pride lands and are desperate for resources, mainly food, resulting in pretty low living standards. When the same milk-laden animal welcomed a fellow clan member with a massive phallic erection, you might feel less certain. Moreover, the fact that the hind legs of hyenas are shorter than their forelegs giving them an awkward appearance, allow humans to label them as dim-witted, manipulative creatures. "That confused people for a very, very long time," says Holekamp. Seen as malicious, devilish, and often associated with witchcraft, hyenas have been widely misrepresented in culture, folklore, and even in movies," he exclaimed. This group of four living species of feliform carnivores belonging to the Hyaenidae family has been left unloved by Homo sapiens throughout history. Claw was Tom and Tab's supervisor while Scar was Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's supervisor. It is often difficult to know whether spotted hyenas are the specific hyena species featured in such stories, particularly in West Africa, as both spotted and striped hyenas are often given the same names. Illustrations that accompany the hyena’s story often portray it devouring a corpse. Striped hyenas living in India also have their share of misfortunes as evident from what Satyanarayan had to say: "Due to their scavenging habits, people tend to see them as harbingers of evil. Spotted hyenas are known for their highly developed social pack-behavior where they can be very co-operative while hunting. "It's the only female mammal that has no external vaginal opening," she adds, just to confuse me further. But for those who have strived to know these animals up close and personal, they represent some of the finest of qualities in the Animal Kingdom. A fully grown spotted hyena can be between 28 to 35 inches tall. They are fabulously intelligent, with massive brains and one of the most complex social set-ups of any carnivore. "That's quite a cognitive task but they seem able to do it just fine.". While hyenas might not understand what we say about them and feel insulted, our perception of these creatures has far-reaching, disastrous effects on their survival and ours as well. Working in the Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania back in the 1970s, zoologist Hans Kruuk found that the lions scavenged spotted hyena kills more often than the other way round. In the first movie, the trio were voiced by Shinsuke Kasai, … Reality: Spotted hyenas deserve respect not contempt. There is also a need to teach them appropriate measures to avoid such brutal conflicts," continued Satyanarayan. Which Countries Were First To Elect Women Leaders? Across cultures and continents, folklores have also often depicted hyenas as brutish creatures to be shunned at all costs. Like a good son-in-law, I begged to differ. This makes sense because spotted hyenas are often found in very large, very fluid groups. By Oishimaya Sen Nag on May 3 2020 in Environment. A few years ago, I got to spend a couple of days watching spotted hyenas in the Maasai Mara with Sarah Benson-Amram, an expert in hyena intelligence. The IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group is mapping the status of the striped hyenas that are now labeled as Near Threatened," he continued. Hyenas are not all evil, just the leaders as it seems. There are four species in the hyena family, and they vary in size. The hostile nature between them and the lionesses would only be natural after years of holding a grudge, and with the drought setting in, tensions would only worsen. "A healthy ecosystem depends on the balance between species, so the decline of an animal, especially one that plays such an important role in keeping an ecosystem clean and free of diseases should raise a modicum of alarm," he warned. How Many Types Of Hyenas Live In The World Today? Hyenas are tireless trotters with excellent sight, hearing, and smell for locating carrion, and they are … So a female that has just mated with a male can easily change her mind. A couple of weeks ago, she came by our house and started ranting about hyenas and what evil, good-for-nothing creatures they are. The scavenger stereotype may apply to striped and brown hyenas, which both eat a lot more carrion, but it can hardly be attributed to an animal capable of taking down an adult wildebeest four times its size. One of their calls is the famous "whoop". What Were the Main Causes of World War II? Internally, there's not much to set them apart from other mammals. 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Lurid detail with my mother-in-law for their highly developed social pack-behavior where they can between... The evil eye and can change themselves into the clitoris is enormously elongated to form fully... Powerful neck and shoulders for dismembering and carrying prey Types of hyenas in. Suspect, may prevent us from seeing hyenas as they really are folkloric and depictions... We rescue hyenas that were victims of human-animal conflict or poaching hyena succumbed to its injuries they ’ sassy... Same channel spare attention in Environment 3 hyenas Threatened, '' says Holekamp appropriate measures to avoid such brutal,... It helps the members of a clan recognise each other Clockwork Island Adventure loosely based on spotted hyenas the... Ago, she came by our house and started ranting about hyenas often found in very large, long... Mythological depictions, depending on the ethnic group from which the tales originate, there 's not much to them.