A full body view of a brown hyena standing in the grass, watching me. Brown hyenas are nog considered the most beautiful animals, with their straggly hair and their slanting backs. They are also quite shy, so getting a good picture of one is a feat in itself. This brown hyena was on its way to a zebra carcass that the lions had just left, ready to eat any meat and bones that were left over. In case you are wondering what’s that next to his nose, yes, it’s a spider.
If there’s one word for the brown hyena it must be shaggy. The brown hyena has a longer coat than the better known spotted or striped hyenas. This, however, doesn’t make it a glamorous animal. Rather, his coat looks mangy and moth eaten. Brown hyenas are mainly scavengers, crushing even the bones of carcasses that other predators leave behind. The animal in the picture is marking its territory with a white and a black paste. Research has shown that the white paste is a general boundary marker for other hyenas: this is my territory. The black paste communicates to members of the same clan that this area is already searched for food; the smell of this paste fades after a few days.
Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park