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Great Hyena sighting raises an interesting question

  • August 20, 2023 | Rhulani Safari Lodge

This sighting will be remembered for several reasons. The remains of an almost completely eaten elephant. There are also predators known to eat the last bite: hyenas and jackals. Rhulani's ranger Willem watches the unique hustle and bustle in the beautiful afternoon light, but one thing was quite unique.

The coexistence of two different predators - Spotted hyena and Black-backed Jackal - was definitely something special, and even more remarkable that they were actually quite peaceful together, searching for the last bits.

"They were all very relaxed," says Willem. "We see that hyenas show dominance only when there isn't enough food for all."

But this was not the reason for an open question, nor did we reason why the mighty elephant had died here a couple of days ago.

Willem became suspicious when he saw two male hyenas interacting with each other, so peacefully. You don't really see that like that. "And even more”, says Willem, “You could see them licking each other between the legs. This was really a funny sighting. I have never seen that before!”

The young Rhulani Ranger did some investigation in the meantime. “It could very well be that licking each other is simply a way of greeting. Second, it's also possible that it's a way of testing dominance.”

But there is also a completely different theory. Willem: "I was quite sure that there were two males. However, when I showed the video to my ranger colleagues, it cannot be ruled out that there were also females, because they sometimes have quite elongated vaginal canals. So it's a bit complicated."

Whatever the reason was in the end, it was a special sighting that you rarely see!