Range and Habitat
Brown hyenas live in the arid southwest of Africa, particularly the Kalahari and Namib deserts, but also in scrublands, woodland savannah, and grassland.
The brown hyena is brown (duh) with a lighter mane and medium length bushy hair. They have a broad, short, black muzzle, pointy high-set ears, a raised back, sloping hindquarters, and thin legs. There is no distinction between the sexes.
They are closely related to the striped hyena, whom they most closely resemble of the hyena family.
The primary entree on the brown hyena's menu is carrion, though they will eat almost anything (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, fish, insects, birds, small mammals, eggs) if given a chance. The brown hyena has a powerful jaw and can crush bone, but is nowhere near the power of the spotted hyena.
The female brown hyena has no set mating season. Females generally mate with nomadic males rather than clan mates. Gestation lasts 3 months, and they give birth to 3-4 cubs in a communal den. Cubs are weaned at 15 months and suckle from any lactating female in the pack.
Brown hyenas are nocturnal. They live in small clans of 4-15 other hyenas, most of whom are female. Their territory can be around 90-180 square miles. Hyenas can leave and rejoin the clan, which generally consists of a dominant male and 1-2 subordinate males, and 4-6 adult females. They have a central breeding den, and a definite social hierarchy, but forage for food alone.
The brown hyena is endangered, and their greatest threat is from humans (who kill them because they believe they kill livestock). They are also killed by spotted hyenas and lions.