Range and Habitat
Striped hyenas live throughout northern Africa, Arabia, Turkey, the Middle East, and western India. They live in arid, mountainous regions but avoid true deserts, preferring acacia bushland and open, rocky terrain.
The striped hyena is greyish brown to beige, with black stripes across their back and black spots or stripes across their legs. The muzzle, throat and ears are entirely black. They have long hair on their body and a medium sized mane on the neck and shoulders which can stand erect when they are frightened.
They are closely related to the brown hyena, whom they most closely resemble of the hyena family. They have the characteristic sloping appearance of a hyena, with a round head and wide pointed muzzle.
Striped hyenas are primarily scavengers, feeding off carrion, but they also kill small animals, insects, and readily eat fruit. Insects seem to be the favored food and they will leap into the air to catch flying insects. The striped hyena has a powerful jaw and can crush bone, but is nowhere near the power of the spotted hyena.
The female striped hyena has no set mating season. Estrus lasts for one day, and the male and female will mate several times during that day, about once every 15-30 minutes! The gestation period lasts 88-92 days, and litters average 1-6 cubs who are all black at birth. Cubs are born with their eyes and ears closed and weigh less than a pound at birth.
Striped hyenas are nocturnal. They live in small family groups that includes a mother, father and several generations of offspring. Hyenas of the same sex socialize together in the group, with mutual nuzzling and grooming, while avoiding the opposite sex.
The striped hyena is considered near threatened, and their major threat is from humans who kill them for eating fruit crops.