Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teen Moms and Koi's Female Army

Eremet (Pike's daughter) and Pike with their four little black cubs. Chakram and Trebuchet (Pike's cubs) are the front most and back most cubs with the white eyebrows. Spyro and Falkor (Erem's cubs/Pike's grandcubs) are the two smaller black cubs in between Chak and Treb (nursing from Eremet). 
It’s cub season now and all three clans have very active communal dens. Most of the cubs are around 3 months old now and are showing their spots as well as their personalities. This year Koi, Happy Zebra Clan's former alpha, would have been the grandmother to 2-4 new cubs and the great grandmother to 5-7 new cubs if she hadn’t been killed by a lion a few years ago. When Pike took the matriarchy after her mother’s death she started a tradition of teen moms or “babies having babies” as we’ve been calling it. Most female hyenas won’t have cubs until they’re over 3 years old and many not until they’re 4 or 5 (lower ranking hyenas tend to wait longer before having their first cubs). Pike was only 3 years old when she took the matriarchy and she already had two cubs Boomerang and Katana when she was 2 years old.

Arbalet, Boomerang, and Boomerang's two new 3-4 week old cubs RumG and Plank. 
KOI - f (died 02Jun11)
            PIKE (30Oct07) – f
                        TREB (09Dec13) - ?
                        CHAK (09Dec13) - ?
                        CLAY (23Jan13) – f
                        ARBA (26Sep11) – f
                                    TULA (?) - ?
                        EREM (26Sep11) – f
                                    SPYR (22Dec13) - ?
                                    FLKR (22Dec13) - ?
                        BOOM (16Feb10) – f
                                    RUMG (14Nov13) - ?
                                    PLNK (14Nov13) - ?
                                    SWAG (23Oct12) – m
                                    JLYR (23Oct12) – f
                        KATA (16Feb10) – m
            SNAP (30Oct07) – f
                        MOJI (5Nov12) – f
            COEL (31Aug10) – f

Above: The linear hierarchy for Happy Zebra clan (only showing Koi’s descendants). Birthdays are in parentheses followed by sex. Offspring are tabbed once underneath their mothers. 

Boomerang and Plank.
Now, at 6 years old she has already had five cubs, four girls and one boy. Her son Katana (now 4 years old) is in the process of dispersal and we’ve seem him hanging out with both south and north hyenas. Katana’s littermate Boomerang was our second teen mom, giving birth to two cubs when she was 2 years old. This year she’s 3 and already has another two cubs who are growing up big and strong. Boomerang’s younger sisters are also, to our amazement following tradition, teen moms for the first time this year. Eremet has two cubs and Arbalet has one.

Plank, Boomerang's cub, was very explorative from a very young age.
Claymore, Pike’s youngest daughter at 1 year old, seems very confused by the sudden switch from being the baby of the family to almost completely ignored. Her two older sisters Arbalet and Eremet used to be her constant playmates and with Pike as her mother she was the clan’s princess. Now her mother and older sisters all have new babies. Most hyena cubs nurse for over a year, but Pike’s family seems to have no problem getting more than enough to eat and all of them are having new cubs every
year, meaning Clay was actually weaned at a little less than one year old. She doesn’t seem too happy but Clay has plenty to eat, just no more milk.

Boomerang carrying Plank back to the den. 
For comparison to Pike’s “baby making machine” family her take a look at her littermate Snapper and her younger sister Coelacanth. Snapper in this same time period has had only one surviving cub, Mojito. Coel finally had her first two cubs this year but we're not sure they survived. We also think Snapper has new cubs this year but we haven’t seen them yet. If I were to post the entire linear hierarchy for the entire clan you would see that Koi’s descendants make up almost half the clan! Considering their high rate of reproduction in the last 4 years this isn’t surprising.

Boomerang nursing RumG and nuzzling Plank. 


dee said...

Another great post! Thank you and please, keep them coming.

Meg said...

Thanks for the update! Love hearing how babies in my time (boom, kata, coel) have grown up :)

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