Original Research

Spotted hyaenas Crocuta crocuta prey on new-born elephant calves in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Julia Salnicki, Marion Teichmann, V.J. Wilson, F. Murindagomo
Koedoe | Vol 44, No 2 | a177 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v44i2.177 | © 2001 Julia Salnicki, Marion Teichmann, V.J. Wilson, F. Murindagomo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2001 | Published: 01 July 2001

About the author(s)

Julia Salnicki, Hyaena Research & Conservation, Zimbabwe
Marion Teichmann, Hyaena Research & Conservation, Zimbabwe
V.J. Wilson, Hyaena Research & Conservation, Zimbabwe
F. Murindagomo, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

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Spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta are known to be opportunists and to have a varied diet including mammals, reptiles and birds. Prey most often hunted are medium sized ungulates but spotted hyaenas will on occasion take larger species such as giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis and zebra Equus burchellii. They are also known to hunt whichever species are most abundant and will vary their prey seasonally. In this study spotted hyaenas were observed to take an unusual prey species in the form of elephant calves (Loxodonta africana). On a number of occasions hyaenas were observed feeding on or killing newborn and very young elephant calves. These observations were made whilst the authors were conducting research on spotted hyaena ecology in the woodlands of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe and were made during the dry season between September and November 1999.


Spotted hyaena, Crocuta crocuta, predation, elephant calves, Loxodonta


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1. Elephant survival, rainfall and the confounding effects of water provision and fences
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doi: 10.1007/s10531-010-9836-7