Saturday, February 1, 2014

Life can be hard for a hyena cub.

Watching cubs at the den isn't always fun and games; Clever was a rather depressed cub yesterday morning! Her brother Shooter, wasn't letting her nurse from their mom T-Rex at all. First she went and moped on top of mom (above), but T-Rex was too tired to give her second cub much affection. So Clever went and curled up with Jude (below), a young subadult female who has been spending a lot of time at the den playing with the cubs. 
It was awfully cute how sad Clever looked curling up with Jude, but it was also a reminder of how tough life can be for a hyena cub! T-Rex is a young mom and this is her very first litter. That both cubs have made it to 9 weeks is quite impressive, especially since T-Rex has been lame on her front left leg for over a month! Usually siblings are best buds and Shooter and Clever play quite happily with each other when they aren't nursing. At first it looked like Shooter was being really mean to not let his sister nurse, but it's more likely that T-Rex simply didn't have enough milk for the two of them at the moment. 

We have over twenty new cubs between the three clans we study in Serena, and though I really want all of them to survive I know that a large proportion of them won't. Watching these nursing troubles between Clever and Shooter is a strong reminder of how tough life can be for a hyena.


Unknown said...

Hyena life is very interesting considering their sheer number has always been a thorn to other carnivores. They are the only carnivores that quickly explore prey killed within the environ they are in. Their cubs experience hard life as lions kill them at any meet point although similar case happens with lion cubs. The hyena cubs are at stake easily considering the hunting nature of the hyena, which takes them miles away

Scissors MacGillicutty said...

Wow, I'm really surprised. Clever is female, but her male sibling Shooter is monopolizing mom T-Rex's milk? Shouldn't Clever, as the female of the litter, be dominant, and just driven Shooter off of T-Rex's teat? And why is T-Rex showing preferential treatment towards a son rather than the daughter? Shooter will just someday disperse, while Clever will remain in the clan and have children of her own.
It's all very complicated! :-o

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science