Do you know how to survive a Hyena attack? Even though you may not run into a pack of wild Hyena on your way to work, if you’re on an African Safari, you won’t underestimate them like most others do if you encounter them.
Welcome to the Hyena Survival Guide. In this post, you’re going to learn everything you need to about Hyena in order to prepare for the worst.
You’ll know what to do to survive if and when you encounter one of these animals in the wild.
Hyena are animals you don’t want to underestimate, which they are by most of the population.
These are big, fast, and incredibly strong with bone chewing vices for jaws.
Table of Contents
When you think of a hyena, most people automatically picture the Hyenas from The Lion King.
They think of sneaky, devious, backbiting creatures that you can’t trust. In reality, that’s not too far fetched, but there are some common misconceptions about them.
First, let’s answer the question, what exactly is a hyena?
It’s a common belief that Hyena’s are members of the dog family. However, this isn’t the case. If anything they are more similar to the cat family than the dog family, but they aren’t cats either.
Hyena are in an animal class of their own called the “Hyaenidae”. They are scavengers in nature. Which brings upon a whole other set of problems if you were to be attacked by one. See below in the survival section.
These wild animals pack a lot of power and are more than capable of killing a full-grown adult.
Now let’s get into the more specific details.
Even though they can be tough to tell the difference between them as they are all similar in color, size, and shape. There are four types of Hyena (Hyaenidae).
- Spotted Hyena (aka “Giggly”)
- Striped Hyena
- Brown Hyena
- Aardwolf Hyena
Also known as the Giggly Hyena because of the distinct growling barking noise it makes. The noise sounds just like a crackling snicker or giggle sound. According to Wonderopolis, this noise is used as a form of communication for frustration, excitement, or fear.
The Spotted Hyena are larger in size compared to the other types.
This type are generally smaller than spotted and brown Hyena’s. They are native to North and East Africa.
The Brown Hyena is also called the Strand Wolf.
This species of Hyena is native to Namibia, Botswana, western and southern Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique and South Africa.
It is currently the rarest type of the species.
The Aardwolf Hyena is the fourth and final type of Hyena. It’s name Aardwolf, means “Earth Wolf” in the Afrikaans / Dutch language.
Size and Strength
One of the common misconceptions about Hyena’s is their size and strength.
Spotted Hyena’s are much larger and stronger than expected. They can weigh upwards of 190 lbs, with a less heavy size being around 90 lbs. Females usually weigh more than their male counterparts.
They have the strongest jaws of any mammal on Earth. Their bite crushes bones with the same ease we use to bite celery sticks.
In other words, a full-grown adult male has no chance whatsoever of defending himself against a Hyena. You would likely be incapacitated within 10 seconds.
They are built specifically for taking down animals much larger than themselves.
Hyena’s have the strength of breaking your ribs by charging at you with their head down.
Like many four-legged animals, they are very fast runners.
For example, the spotted hyena is capable of reaching speeds upwards of 37 MPH.
To say they have a lot of endurance would be an understatement.
Likelihood of encountering a hyena or a pack of hyenas.
You’re more likely to encounter a pack of hyenas in the wilderness of Africa.
You won’t be seeing a group of hyenas in downtown New York like a group of frat boys.
When people encounter these animals, it’s common on an African Safari trip. An excellent experience and it’s recommended to go on one at least once. Even more popular for hunters and other outdoorsmen.
How They Hunt
Hyenas hunt like other dogs and big cats hunt, which is in groups, and they’re good at it.
They are experts at coordinating hunts with each other. They’re intelligent, fast, and powerful.
The only animal in the wilderness that scares them is the male lion. That is if they’re alone. With each other, it’s a walk in the park.
What To Do
Knowing what to do is crucial for your safety and survival.
Now that you have a good base of knowledge about these animals, you can now use it to prepare for a possible encounter.
You know you have very little chance of surviving, so what should you do? Here’s what to do.
Even if you do manage to fight it off, which would be miraculous to say the least, you wouldn’t be able to tell the story for long after.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this guide about them being scavengers, once they bite you, it’s highly likely you’ll be poisoned as well. Their mouths and teeth are covered in rotting flesh most of the time. This makes their jaws filled with razor sharp teeth poisonous on top of the one of the worlds strongest jaws.
Death would be a guarantee if bitten. Even if you’re up against a striped Hyena, which is the smallest of the species.
Here’s the bottom line. If you’re alone without a knife and you encounter a spotted Hyena, you’re dead. There’s nothing you can do. If the animal wants you dead, you’re dead.
It’s best to just think of the Hyena being a Lion. You don’t go around Lion territory alone without multiple weapons. Could you? Of course, if you have a death wish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Hyenas.
Should You Run From Hyenas?
These animals run up to 37 MPH with unfathomable endurance. Can you run 37 MPH? It’s impossible for a person to outrun a Hyena, so running away is futile.
Can You Kill Hyenas?
When it comes to a spotted Hyena, a person has little to no chance to survive an attack. They are commonly underestimated since they appear small in the movies we’ve all seen them in.
It’s highly unlikely that you would survive against a Hyena. Even if you had a weapon such as a baseball bat or other blunt object as a weapon, you still have very little chance of surviving.
Do Hyenas Attack Humans?
Hyena’s have been reported to attack people. As we said above, all types are powerful and fully capable of attacking and killing an adult person. When food is scarce, they are more likely to attack people. According to Africa Hunting, it would be gruesome to be killed by a hyena.
Should You Prepare For Hyenas
Is there a point in learning about surviving a Hyena encounter?
Are they aggressive and hostile?
Do you even have to worry about being attacked by one if you were to come face to face?
It is always important to learn what you can about potential threats, even unlikely threats because one time is all it takes to drastically alter or even end your life.
Remember, at the end of the day, they are dogs. Dogs are territorial and will defend their territory if they feel threatened.
Them feeling threatened is a little different a human feeling threatened. Dogs can feel that you are a threat if you are simply within a certain distance of them.
Imagine another person or dangerous animal in your back yard, you would act as if it was a potential threat.
If you see it growl or make a similar noise, that’s a sign of it challenging you. If this is the case, your best option is to stand your ground.
Now you know what to do if you encounter a hyena in the wild.
The answer is, don’t.
Fear them as if they were Lions. Know if you’re in their territory. You’re only going to encounter them if you’re in Africa most likely.
You survive a Hyena attack by not putting yourself in a position to be encountered by them.
I hope this article helped you learn how to survive a hyena attack, even though there’s little you can do if you are attacked. You may also want to see our guide on how to survive a cassowary attack and how to survive an x attack.
To go to the complete list of wild animals to prepare for, visit the Ultimate Wild Animal Survival Guide on how to survive wild animal attacks.