What do hyenas usually hunt?

Hunter in the Sahel

In Africa it is said that the day belongs to the people, the night belongs to the animals. Because almost all predators go hunting at night. Then lions and leopards, hyenas and jackals are on a raid. 

Hyenas are hunters and scavengers

If you hear a cackling - sounds like a goat's bleating, only more dangerous - then hyenas aren't far. Hyenas live in dry savannahs, you can even meet them in the desert. Because of their greed, their intelligent hunting behavior and their peculiar sounds, they are feared by all African peoples. There are many superstitious stories about the hyenas. You can smell and see great. They are scavengers and are based on vultures, because vultures are also scavengers. From tall trees or in flight, vultures discovered dead animals much earlier than hyenas. That is why hyenas watch exactly where vultures fly and follow them. They then devour the remains of the prey that vultures leave lying around. But they also hunt themselves and can be dangerous even for large wild animals. Often many hyenas come together to mate in the moonlight and make a hell of a racket. When they have young, they build their den in abandoned aardvark burrows.


The African wild dog is the long-distance runner in the savannah

The African wild dog is considered to be the most successful hunter of the savannah. When hunting, he covers distances of 30 to 50 kilometers. Rabbits, warthogs and gazelles are on his menu. It looks like a cross between a hyena and a wolf, which is why the locals also call it a hyena dog. But it only looks like hyenas outwardly. He doesn't eat carrion and he doesn't chuckle. Besides, he's not as greedy as the hyena. African wild dogs live very harmoniously in packs of several animals. They do not have food envy. All pack members eat peacefully side by side. They also let puppies satisfy their hunger first. However, there are strict rules in relation to each other: Only the lead bitch is allowed to give birth to young. The father is always the lead dog. After a gestation period of 11 weeks, an average of seven to ten young are born. As with the lions, the cubs are cared for by all pack members.


Cheetahs are the short-distance runners in the dry savannas

Cheetahs used to be almost everywhere in Africa, today they can only be seen south of the Sahara. Cheetahs are lighter and slimmer than leopards. They belong to the category of cats, but their physique is reminiscent of that of wild dogs. They are far faster than any other savannah hunter. They are actually the fastest animals on earth. They reach a top speed of 100 km per hour. But they only last 10-15 seconds. Then when they can't get hold of their prey, they have to take a break. Cheetahs have dog-like claws that act like spikes and help them run so fast. Usually they sneak up on prey so that it only takes a short sprint. Their most popular prey are antelopes. If the antelope manages to be faster than him for a distance of 500 meters, it will get away. Then her pursuer runs out of breath. Not only is he the fastest sprinter, he can also jump pretty far. In one sentence he can go seven meters. The cheetah is three times faster than the sprinters in the Olympics. It can accelerate from 0 to 70 km per hour in 2 seconds. The big cats also hunt small gazelles, warthogs, guinea fowl, rabbits and even ostriches.


Cheetahs are diurnal. In this way you avoid competition with other hunters who can easily compete for their prey. It is strange that the cheetah does not defend its prey against other animals. Because of this peculiarity, it often loses its prey to lions, hyenas and even vultures. Their fur is similar in color to that of the leopard. But only they have the characteristic, dark markings under the eyes, which look like black tears. In addition, leopars, lions and hyenas are also a great threat to their offspring. They are more sociable than most other cats. The females mostly live alone. Only when they have young do they band together. The males form associations in which they live in twos or threes. There are seldom larger groups of cheetahs of up to 15 animals. Males and females only come together to mate and then separate again. The area is demarcated by urine markings. Cheetahs, like all small cats, cannot roar. Their very quiet sounds are reminiscent of the sounds of domestic cats. But they can purr what big cats can't. About 7500 cheetahs still live in the wild. They are considered endangered.


The jackal is a hunter of the night

If you hear a howl in the savannah at night, then there is sure to be a jackal nearby. Jackals are related to wolves. They look like wolves, howl like wolves and hunt in packs like their relatives. Jackals use the darkness to go hunting. Jackals are omnivores, they hunt antelopes and gazelles when they are not lucky enough to hunt, sometimes they eat the remains of a lion's meal or they eat beetles. Jackals are also eaten if they are not careful: They are on the menu of large cats of prey such as cheetah and leopard. There are different types of jackals. The golden jackal in particular can be found in the dry savannahs of the Sahel. Jackals live in a family group, which is usually led by a male. Sometimes females lead a pack as well. During the day, when the animals are not hunting, they look after their offspring. A female usually has six to eight young who have to be fed. There is a lot to do and the males also take part in the rearing. They protect their families from predators, but they never live in the same den as the female and the puppies, but look for shelter nearby. At the age of two, the young jackals are sexually mature and leave the group to start their own families.

Already knew? Golden jackals have fixed territories that they mark with their urine. There are hardly any territorial fights, the jackals drive away rivals with threatening gestures. They instinctively know that survival in the Sahel is too tough to fight one another.