Brown Hyena

Bruin Hiëna, Strandjut, Strandwolf

Hyena brunnea

Sturdily built, with strong fore quarters and heavy muzzle.  Differs from spotted hyena mainly by being darker and more hairy, with pointed rather than rounded ears.

This powerful but shy 50 kg scavenger occupies savanna woodland and desert, preferring the dryer west (all the way to the sea).


Brown hyenas are only 5% successful in hunting effort, and therefore dependant on scavenging.  Consequently the temptation of livestock lands it in trouble.  To make it worse, they look big and fierce.  Poisoning of the more cunning Black-backed jackal frequently results in termination of innocent hyenas in stead.  That is why the calling and selective shooting of problem predators is by far the most effective and environmentally friendly way to solve this problem.  (Of cause the very best way still is to call the nearest Nature Conservation office to have it trapped and removed to a reserve, if they have the man power available.)  These animals are simple to noble to be killed without reason.

When night calling for jackal, great care should be taken not to squeeze a trigger at any pair of bright eyes.

Although not endangered, the Red Data Book classifies it as “rare” (Cites II)

Did you know?

Brown hyenas avoid areas dominated by spotted hyenas?
They frequent commercial farmland around the Suikerbosrand Reserve, 20 minutes drive from Johannesburg CBD, usually unnoticed at night in urban trash dumps.
On the Namib Skeleton coast their staple diet is seals.
Only one female in the social group breeds, with nomadic males from outside the clan.
Known for their anal gland territorial secretions, leaving white and black marks on grass stems every few hundred yards.
Brown hyenas can detect carrion from 10 miles downwind!