Zimbabwe: Mama Pools NP – Spotted Hyenas
The next carnivore we spotted after lions at Mana Pools National Park were spotted hyenas. While many people consider hyenas ugly and hideous, they are some of the most interesting and beautiful animals in their own way. Highly social, they live in dens and hunt together, after harassing lions and leopards for the kill. They are mainly hunters but can also be scavengers or bullies taking the kill from others. They are very opportunistic in food, being able to digest meat, skin, bones, and even poop (interestingly, hyena poop is sparkling white due to all the calcium in it). Hyenas are the most social of all carnivores and form the largest groups with complex intra-group relationships. They are not related to dogs or wolves, despite the appearance. We didn’t see large packs in Mana, just many solitary hyenas, one pregnant, and a trip full of a recent meal.