Original Research

The comparative behavioural ecology of the Brown Hyaena Hyaena brunnea and the Spotted Hyaena Crocuta crocuta in the Southern Kalahari

M. G. L Mills
Koedoe | Supplement | a583 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v27i2.583 | © 1984 M. G. L Mills | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 December 1984 | Published: 01 December 1984

About the author(s)

M. G. L Mills, National Parks Board of Trustees, South Africa

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Abstract

The diet, foraging behaviour, social organisation and social behaviour of the brown hyaena Hyaena brunnea and the spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta, and the interactions between these two species in the southern Kalahari are discussed. The brown hyaena is a scavenger of a wide variety of vertebrate remains, supplementing its diet with wild fruits and insects and is well adapted to this arid region. The spotted hyaena is a hunter-scavenger of large and medium-sized mammals and is not found in such numbers in the southern Kalahari as is the brown hyaena. These differences in diet have led to the evolution of large differences in foraging behaviour, social organisation, denning behaviour and communication patterns in the two species; spotted hyaenas having a more highly developed social system and living in far larger territories than brown hyaenas. Spotted hyaenas are dominant to brown hyaenas, but because of their low density in the southern Kalahari, have little effect on the brown hyaena population there.

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