Saturday, November 22, 2008

Adorable antics

I admit, we love to post cute pictures of hyena babies. But sometimes, I just can't help myself. We've got nine tiny new cubs in Serena, and we think there may be a few more we haven't discovered yet. Here's an little introduction to a few of them...

First, we came upon Tyson, a female who seemed to be carrying a scrap of meat in her mouth. On closer inspection, it turned out that scrap of meat was, in fact, her tiny baby, probably just a week or two old! Don't worry, she wasn't taking care of some strange carnivorous craving - this is how hyena moms carry their babies around. But come on, this can't be a comfortable mode of transportation for the little one.


We soon saw that Tyson had not one but two new cubs, Sputnik and Challenger, who we've named after space missions. Here's a cuddly picture of the trio nursing. However, the sibling rivalry has already begun...you can see Challenger - on the bottom - trying to push Sputnik out of the way!


Then, we stumbled on twins who we've named Chaos and Conspiracy (in the "famous theories" lineage). When we first arrived at the den, Chaos - true to his name - was busy being a total pest! First, he climbed up his mom's neck and hung on for a little piggyback ride.


His mom, Jenny, managed to dislodge him from her neck, but not before Chaos decided he really liked that nice high vantage point. He proceeded to climb on the back of another female sleeping nearby.


Apparently, this little nook was so cozy that he settled down and napped! The female woke up and shook Chaos off, but it looks like we've got yet another trouble-maker on our hands.

7 comments:

Dana said...

Thanks for the great photos. The little hitchhiker is adorable!

dp said...

Is it typical for a hyena to have two pups? Do you expect one of a set of twins not to survive?

Will said...

I'm guessing that being on someone else's neck is more comfortable than being carried around by your head. Perhaps that is why Chaos appears to be smiling but the other one isn't!

Kate said...

Yep, many hyena moms do give birth to two cubs (they are cubs, not pups, by the way). And, while mortality is very high, it's not uncommon that both will survive. There's a big misconception that siblicide always occurs among twins...we've found that this definitely isn't true.

Dana said...

Kate - Good to hear that siblicide doesn't always occur. I love watching the interaction between the pups and their Mom.

On another note, how long will your research team be in the Mara? A couple of years ago I understand there was a team over by Keekorock (sp)area - was that you all?

Kate said...

Hi Dana - Our project focuses on long-term behavioral observation, so we're planning to be out here in the Mara for many years to come! We've been working in Talek since 1988, and that may be the camp near Keekorok that you're thinking of.

Jaime said...

These Triangle hyenas are not nearly as goodlooking as our Talek guys eh?


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