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Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Spotted hyenas reach a head trunk length of 125 to 160 centimetres, the tail is relatively short at 22 to 27 centimetres. The shoulder height is from 77 to 81 centimeters. The weight is usually 45 to 60 kilograms, individual animals can weigh up to 86 kilograms.
Females and males differ only slightly from each other and not in all body measurements. Females are 2.3% longer and have slightly larger skulls and chest circumferences, but no longer legs than males. This low sexual dimorphism is thought to vary regionally and is more pronounced in southern Africa than in other regions of the continent.

The coat is relatively short and rough, and the long dorsal mane is less pronounced in the spotted hyena than in the other hyena species. The relatively fine woolly hairs are 15 to 20 millimeters long, the coarser outer hairs 30 to 40 millimeters. The basic coloration of the coat is sandy yellow to reddish-brown; on the back, flanks and legs there are numerous black and dark brown spots. These become browner or may fade with age. 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, which are provided with blunt, non-retractable claws. Like all hyenas, spotted hyenas are digitigrad (toe walkers). The tail ends in a black, bushy tip; their hair protrudes from the end of the tail spine by about 12 centimeters.

Glands on both sides of the anal canal secrete a secretion to the anal sac located between the anus and tail. From this sac, the secretion is released during the territory marking. The females usually have only one pair, rarely two pairs of teats. The males, like all hyenas, lack the bones of the penis.

Although hyenas are visually similar to dogs, they are more closely related to cats.

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