Hyena or hyena dog — a unique animal, the only one of its kind Lycaon, which, by the way, was named after one of the Greek gods.
Many by ear, focusing on the name, confuse this beast with a hyena, but in fact, the hyena dog even looks a lot more like red African wolves, but not hyenas. Even the name of the species adopted by scientists — Lycaon pictus — is translated as “painted wolf”.
Description and features of the hyena dog
This animal is a “dog” in every sense, even among the relatives of this species — jackals, wolves, coyotes and, of course, dogs. The hyenoid dog feels great in the domesticated form, is very affectionate and devoted to the host family, a cheerful and funny companion for children and teenagers, not much different from the usual shepherd dogs.
Just like many centuries ago, people were beaten to people, ordinary dogs, a photo hyena dog — and loves video filming very much, noticing the attention of a person, she freezes and “smiles” into her mouth.
But in the wild, these animals behave quite differently. These are pack predatory animals, capable of displaying aggression and attacking anyone who does not like them or penetrates their territory. In principle, the behavior in nature of these animals is similar to how stray dogs behave on the streets of cities.
Hyena dog lifestyle and habitat
Once the flocks of these charming dogs could be seen anywhere in Africa, from its north to the extreme south. But now, people can observe flocks of hyena dogs in their natural habitat only in national parks, natural reserves and in parts of the continent untouched by civilization, in the territories of Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and north-west South Africa.
In nature, animals live in flocks, the larger, the better, with a strict hierarchy. The usual number of the pack today is 10-18 dogs, according to descriptions of researchers of the 19th century, there were up to hundreds of animals in the flocks.
In this community, two individuals — male and female — are uplifting; their joint puppies, of course, remain in their own pack. All females obey the main female, and the males — to the main male. Until that moment.
Until they grow old and become decrepit. During estrus, fights break out between females because of the opportunity to mate with the main male. This usually happens at the age of 2-3 years, and “dissatisfied” females leave their native flock, often during the search for a new “family” they become victims of natural enemies — lions and hyenas.
In general, between the dogs are peaceful. They do not fight over food, help each other in feeding puppies and often feed them with care, burping food, for those who for some reason cannot feed themselves.
Such dogs live in savannas, mountainous wastelands and pre-desert steppes, covered with bushes. They do not like the jungle, probably because they do not have a well-developed sense of smell, but have excellent vision and are able to develop high speed during races over very long distances, demonstrating the qualities of real elite greyhounds.
Animals are active during the day, but they like to hunt in the early morning or in the evening. They are not particularly attached to the territory, and they mark it only on the eve of puppies’ birth.
Hyena Dog Food
Animals eat meat, preferring to hunt, but they can eat carrion, if the carcass is not much decomposed. Hunting hyena dogs — an impressive sight, stretched to the string body with fluffy tails, rushing at a speed of 55-60 km / h, it is very beautiful. They chase any ungulates, the most frequent prey becomes:
Dogs are very persistent and never stop pursuing, in the most difficult cases, bringing their victim to exhaustion. By the presence of scavengers next to their prey, hyeno-like dogs are treated quite calmly, except for hyenas. These dogs are driven away without any pity, engaging in fierce and bloody battles if necessary.
Reproduction and life expectancy of a hyeno dog
Each pack is ruled by one pair, whose relationship is maintained throughout life. This is the main family and multiplies. In cases where puppies are born from another female, the main “lady” is fully capable of either tearing them away or expelling them from the pack. However, in the conditions of zoos, such social behavior is not observed at all.
Seasonality in the breeding process is absent, like any dogs in general, but usually puppies are born from March to July. Pregnancy in a hyena dog lasts from 60 to 70 days, as a result, from 2-3 to 18-20 babies are born. Small litters are characteristic of captive animals, in savannas and puppies steppes rarely less than two dozen are born.
Dogs do not dig their burrows, using old abandoned dwelling of aardcrews under the lair. Toddlers are born completely helpless, deaf, blind and naked. Mother cares for puppies in a den from one month to one and a half, during all this time, the whole flock feeds and protects her.
Before reaching two months, the mother begins to leave the burrow, gradually increasing its absence. The puppies themselves make the first forays into the world at the age of 9-10 weeks old. Far from the den, they do not depart, meet members of the pack, the outside world, and so on.
Dogs become completely independent and adult after their first hunt, as a rule, it falls on the 13-18th month of their life. Hyena-like dogs live for an average of 10 years, but live up to 13-15 as pets.
In the wild, hyenas and hyena dogs are not just fierce enemies, they are not even related to each other. Therefore, it is quite curious one event from the «human» world. Speech about the film series «Underworld», about vampires and werewolves. When determining the appearance of werewolves and inventing the name for them, two prototypes from the animal world competed — hyenas and hyenoid dogs. In the eyes of the producers, the image written off from the dogs, won, and the films were full of Lycans.