The brown hyena, also known as the beach wolf, is a species of predator in the hyena family Hyaenidae. It weighs around 40 kilograms and is the only hyena species whose fur is hardly patterned or striped. It lives in arid areas in southern Africa, such as the Namib Desert. It is predominantly nocturnal and has a complex social behavior: it lives in groups called "clans", but whose members go alone in search of food. Its diet consists mainly of the carrion of larger animals, but it also hunts smaller animals itself.
The brown hyena is the middle of the three hyenas proper in size, it is larger than the striped Hyena, but smaller than the spotted Hyena. The head-torso length is 110 to 136 centimeters, with a tail 19 to 27 centimeters long. The shoulder height is about 70 centimeters in males and about 74 centimeters in females.
Weight varies from 28 to 47.5 kilograms and averages 40 kilograms. Moderate sexual dimorphism is present: the males are slightly longer and heavier than the females, but lower. As with all hyenas, the front legs are longer and stronger than the hind legs, causing the back to fall backwards. The front and hind paws each end in four toes with blunt, non-retractable claws. Like all hyenas, they are toe-walkers.