As we all know, we are not all equally blessed when it comes to genetic perfection, and our hyenas are no exception. Here are two particular gems:
Having had braces for five years, I can relate to poor Snaggletooth, who's looked like this since she was a kid:
Just looking at her cracks me up. But she's smarter than she looks.
Then there's this poor soul...a three-month old cub that is almost certainly blind (I don't think I need to point him out in the photo below).
I fondly call him "Demon Hyena."
When he was two months old, his eyes were a striking blue, but over the last month they have noticeably turned green. It's actually quite sad to watch him because he wanders around, constantly sniffing the air, occasionally stepping on other hyenas, who are less patient than we might be. Unfortunately, vision is absolutely crucial in the life of a hyena. Not only do you need to be able to see to hunt and watch out for ill-intentioned lions, but so many of the social cues that hyenas use are also visual, such as putting ears back to show submission, or giving nasty glares to show dominance. In hyena societies, much like middle school, it's ALL about fitting in and knowing your place in the social hierarchy. If this guy can't recognize when he's being "yelled" at, he might accidentally sit at the Cool Kids' table when he shouldn't, or fail to pay enough respect to the captain of the cheerleading squad. In middle school that might get you stuffed in a locker...for this guy, it will be a lot worse. For now, though, he's lucky enough to still belong at the den, so he doesn't need to depend on anyone but his mama, who surely loves him in spite of his blindness.
That being said, every time we see him we rejoice a little that he's still hanging in. Let's just say I don't think he should buy the big tube of toothpaste.