Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sacking Out: The Strategy

A recent blog reader asked us what sacking out is. I really should have known to explain this in my blogs because "sacked out" was one of those terms that everyone used when I got here that left me clueless. It took me a few days of really paying attention to know what "sacking out" was referring to.

Sacking out is, most simply, when a hyena is laying down. In our data collection and notes we use this term to describe any hyena that is laying down in a variety of positions.

A sacked out hyena can be either a curse or a blessing. At times, it can be a relief to come upon a sacked out hyena. This is partly because it is easy to record in the notes and partly because it allows you plenty of time to ID the hyena without it wandering into bushes or tall grass or a lugga. Other times, a sacked out hyena is the cause of much frustration and teeth gnashing. Some hyenas love to sack out in a way that gives you no hope of identifying the hyena by spots.

Here are a few hyena sacking out strategies:

The Sack Out

The "Yes I know it looks like I'm enjoying this too much for it to just be nursing" Sack Out

(Mom: Koko, Cub: Sheffield)

The "One paw under, one paw back" Sack Out

The "We LOVE the road!" Sack Out

The "MMMMMMmmmm Aaaaahhhhh Roooooaaaaaad, soooo niiiiiice" Sack Out

The "Yeah, I'm in the road again, whatcha gonna do about it?" Sack Out

The "Good babysitter" Sack Out

The "Not-so-good babysitter" Sack Out

(Mom: Artemis)

The "Hiding in the den hole" Sack Out


The "Just Say 'No!'" Sack Out

(Human: Kenna, Hyena: Obama)

The "Hide in the bushes from the hyena researchers" Sack Out

The "Not quite sure I want a bath right now, Barcelona" Sack Out

The "Sleeping on the job, but it's ok because I'm a new mom" Sack Out

(Mom: Lucky Luciano, Cub: Lavington)

The "Bloody Comfy" Sack Out


The "Why yes, as a matter of fact I am sacked out in a hole. And yes, I am stuck here" Sack Out


The "Grass pillow" Sack Out

The "What do you mean you can't identify me by my belly shape? What kind of hyena researcher are you?!" Sack Out

The "I am such a good mom, anyone can chew or stand on me, I don't care" Sack Out

(Mom: Potter)

The "I'm too lazy to get up for this greet" Sack Out

The "Hyenas love ditches" Sack Out

The "No really, we LOVE ditches" Sack Out

The "Having three cubs is exhausting" Sack Out


The "I have my eye on you" Sack Out

The "In my next life, I want to be a rock" Sack Out

The "Is the Mara ugly or what?!" Sack Out


Anonymous said...

So now that you've defined "sack out", can you define "lugga"?

Kenna said...

A lugga is the bane of the hyena researchers existence. We even have a lugga named "Bane Lugga."

Luggas are a kind of drainage you find out here in the Mara. It not quite a stream or a creek because usually the water is just sitting in a string of pools and rarely ever flows anywhere. Eventually, most lugga drain to the Talek or Mara Rivers.

Luggas are a problem for us because the hyenas have a nasty habit of disappearing into them. Or they are always on the side of the lugga opposite you. Which means we have to go find a crossing to get over to them. Most times, while we're looking for a crossing, the hyena decides to conveniently disappear. Luggas are also a good source of bushes and cover and the hyenas love to drive us crazy by just being in bushes and not visible or "no vis."

Leslie said...

Kenna, those were some great photos (and captions). So nice to see all those happy-looking cubs and those understandably exhausted moms.

Just one thing...that wasn't Barce, that was Juba!! :)

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