Tom 5 March
Hyenas are as clever as they are ugly. It is reported that they are cleverer than chimpanzees which probably means cleverer than a lot of guys with whom I played rugby. They are also meaner than junkyard dogs and hippos with toothache.
Contrary to popular belief, hyenas are not cowardly animals. The smaller ones who are scavengers might be shy and cautious but they fiercely protect their interests if threatened. A bold strategy of the spotted hyena is to lock on to the prey’s testicles and hang on until the victim bleeds out.
However, if you ever sat down and talked to a hyena, you would be amazed by the variety and self-deprecating humour of the conversation.
That’s one thing about hyenas, they giggle quite a bit. So you giggle too, because its probably a good tactic – their jaws can crack a giraffe femur and they are a bit temperamental (with the emphasis on mental).
The other thing is: don’t mention the smell around hyenas. They have scent glands around their anus and are continuously wiping their arse on grass to tell you they’ve been there.
If you are determined to talk to a hyena it is probably prudent to first get to know the aardwolf. They are the gentlest of the species and usually eat ants, so you should be quite safe. Like most hyenas they sleep in the day so remember to seek them out after dark . Nothing like waking a grumpy dog for a chat, or anyone else for that matter.
The smallest hyena is the striped one and he is very shy and misunderstood and reportedly endures significant bullying. However it is the national animal of Lebanon.
It is perhaps wiser to seek conversation with the male spotted hyena. Males are generally more affable and smaller than females, who are always leaders of the pack. In fact males are at the bottom of the hyena caste system and will probably talk to anyone who shows remote interest in them.
Like most females, lady hyenas (respect goes a long way) have complicated anatomies. When I investigated this I skipped a great deal as it was eye-wateringly uncomfortable sounding.
Apparently the spotted hyena’s extraordinary sexual equipment remains “one of the most interesting mysteries in biology.”
It seems lady hyenas have plenty to be bitter about.
Save to say that they were thought to be gender fluid hermaphrodites but closer observation disclosed this was not so. Perhaps they could be adopted as a mascot of the less certain citizens of the LGBTQ rainbow?
Some people seek out the company of hyenas, so they may well be good company
Probably the best topic for conversation with a hyena is food. It may be wise to only raise this after a meal, as if the conversation becomes too descriptive they might get hungry. Hyenas can and do take down buffalos so a well fed human would be a piece of cake.