Baby hyena struggles to stay awake while lying belly up next to mommy
The Kruger National Park in South Africa is home to a great variety of large predator species. While the big cats such as lion and leopard are very popular amongst safari goers, one specific predator has a very different reputation. The spotted hyena, mostly viewed with fear and contempt because of their scavenging habits and their alleged cowardice. Among the beliefs held by some cultures, hyenas are thought to influence people’s spirits, rob graves, and steal livestock and children. With such a reputation it would be hard to believe that these amazing creatures can also be very cute and adorable, especially when they are still young. We had the fortunate experience to witness some of that unknown hyena cuteness. During a safari in the Kruger Park we stopped at what is called a communal den, usually a hole or burrow inside a termite mound. The focus of a hyena clan centres on a communal den where all the females keep their young. On our arrival we found one large female lying outside the den together with her cute little cubs. Our attention was drawn to one specific cub that stole the show. The cub was lying on its back and belly up next to its mother. This adorable baby hyena made for entertaining viewing as it was clear that it was very tired and could hardly keep its eyes open. The mother hyena was fast asleep and the baby hyena tried to keep itself busy and not fall asleep. Even chewing on its own leg didn’t really help and we could see how the baby hyena’s head was slowly falling backwards. For a little while the hyena cub could resist the sleepiness until it just became too much. The baby hyena finally fell over onto its side, lying in a much more comfortable position, joining mommy for a nap. Watching this cute baby hyena in its attempt to try and stay awake was hugely entertaining and funny at the same time. It also shows that hyenas are far more diverse and fascinating than the dull, one-dimensional creatures most people think of when they hear the word hyena.