As you may know, hyenas use dens to keep their young cubs safe from the dangers of the outside world. Large den complexes often times are comprised of many holes, some of which are connected underground and seem capable of housing an endless number of hyena cubs. While these dens serve as the perfect home for some happy hyena cubs, there are often previous tenants who helped make the holes the cozy abodes that we find our hyenas in. Aardvarks are often the initial excavators, digging out a termite mound in search of a tasty meal. Warthogs and porcupines do most of the remodeling work, taking a smaller hole and expanding it into larger den complex. Finally the hyenas arrive, usually adding little more to the den than enlarging the entrances to improve ease of access.
|Hyenas at the South Clan den have just moved into this mansion of a den built into a towering termite mound.|
While hyenas usually move in after the previous inhabitants have left, they occasionally end up sharing their den with some other creatures. We have seen both porcupines and warthogs living in the same den with a bunch of hyenas!
The Happy Zebra clan is currently sharing their communal den with a warthog. We first noticed this was happening when we saw a warthog slowly approaching the den in the midst of a frenzied evening den session. One of the moms alarm rumbled and all the hyenas scattered as the warthog sauntered up to one of the den holes and disappeared inside! A few days later we saw it emerge from the same hole, a hole we have seen black cubs go into and come out of.
While this warthog and the Happy Zebra hyenas appear to have achieved a stable coexistence, they don’t always get along all that well. Check out some photos and video of the warthog chasing hyenas around their home!
|Photo courtesy of Sarah Jones|
|The resident warthog chasing a hyena away from the den.|
Photo courtesy of Sarah Jones