How Can I Tell the Difference between Male and Female Spotted Hyenas?

Identifying the differences between male and female spotted hyenas can be difficult because both genders have external genitalia that are almost identical. Most of the differences tend to lie in behavior patterns and size. Female spotted hyenas tend to be larger than males and are more likely to take the lead in the life of the pack.

More facts about spotted hyenas:

  • Female spotted hyenas tend to weigh as much as 10 percent more than males. In addition, the females are often more aggressive than the males.

  • Well into the 20th century, there was a widespread misconception that spotted hyenas were bisexual, because of the similarity between the sexes. Along with biologists who accepted this theory, well-known figures such as writer Ernest Hemingway also promoted this idea.

  • Hyenas tend to hunt in packs and work together. A common strategy is for one hyena to disrupt a herd of animals while the others attack a weak member of that herd and ultimately chase the others away as the pack devours its prey.

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