Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hyenas LOVE water.

(For those of you whose internet is too slow for videos see photos below.)

This morning most of our Happy Zebra hyenas were playing in Egyptian Goose watering hole. Most hyenas seem to enjoy a little bit of splashing, and some are very timid about getting their paws wet or being splashed. Then there are those that somehow don't seem to mind water up their eyes, ears, and nose and will allow themselves to be dunked under water in addition to voluntarily sticking their heads under the water as they swim and play.

The larger adult in this video that you see in the deeper water playing with a cub is Cosby (a low-ranking adult female) and the cub is Jolly Roger (or just J-Rog for short). Her brother Swag goes in up to his belly a few times. They hyena who balances with all four paws on a grass mound is Eremet, J-Rog's subadult aunt. At the end of the video you see Andor (female cub, possibly a second or third cousin to J-Rog) being very timid about getting splashed by Cosby or J-Rog.

Here is Cosby swimming and diving. It was very fun to see such a low ranking female playing with the cubs and enjoying herself. Earlier that morning before the pool party had started she was tearing up some turf while play romping with the bigger cubs.

Some play romping and splashing.

There were some zebras present that really wanted to go to the watering hole to get a drink but with the hyenas being so absolutely crazy they weren't so sure. The cubs thought it would be really funny to chase them away.

Jolly Roger in all her dripping glory. She has a really good circle with a dot in the middle that looks like a target on her left side that makes her easy to ID from a distance.

Later on the cubs started play romping near the zebras who weren't so easily spooked this time.

Finally the zebras were able to get their turn to come and drink. Note the out of focus cubs sleeping in the foreground. Overall it was a pretty exciting morning in Happy Zebra today. Right now none of the cubs are really young enough to be at a den (except for Higgs) which means there isn't a consistent den for us to go to every morning and we haven't been seeing too many hyenas. Finding every single cub here (including Higgs who was too afraid to go into the water) was a lot of fun.


Tor Bertin said...

Out of curiosity, how tightly does the spotted hyena's hierarchy hold during play events? Are they more likely to put issues of rank aside during play behavior, or do they mostly play within their 'stature'?

For example, are lower ranking hyenas just as likely to initiate play with higher ranking hyenas as lower ranking hyenas? If so, are higher ranking hyenas just as likely to positively respond as lower ranking hyenas?

Haven't read much about hyena play behavior, and given their hierarchical society, there could be some interesting questions in it.

Lily J-U said...

Not tightly, but this is mostly with regards to cubs. Cubs are still learning their ranks and adults of any rank don't seem to worry about a cub's rank when initiating play. A low-ranking adult may have to worry about playing with a high-ranking cub when its mom is around but the cubs certainly don't seem to care either way.

I don't remember any instances of two adult animals playing with each other but I don't think a low-ranking adult would try and initiate play with a high-ranking adult.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous footage, Lily! Sure hope it's backed up on a camp hard drive! I'll send you another fun water play sequence via email.

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science