Hyena vs. Jackal

Difference Between  Hyena And jackal Hyena Hyena, one of three species of large-headed, powerful-jawed carnivores. The spotted hyena…

Difference Between  Hyena And jackal


Hyena, one of three species of large-headed, powerful-jawed carnivores.

The spotted hyena is yellowish gray, with dark brown or black spots. It has a combined head-and-body length of 37 to 65 inches (94 to 165 cm), a shoulder height of 27 to 36 inches (69 to 91 cm), a tail length of 10 to 14 inches (25 to 36 cm), and a weight of between 88 and 190 pounds (40 to 86 kg), although females average 5 inches (13 cm) longer and 15 pounds (6.6 kg) heavier than males. C. crocuta has a coarse, woolly coat and either a slight mane or none at all.

None of the three hyena species is diurnal. When solitary, the spotted hyena is an effective scavenger and will also prey on small animals, but when hunting in a group, it is capable of killing medium-sized ungulates. It primarily attacks wildebeest, most frequently targeting those that are very young, very old, or in an otherwise weakened condition.

The animal may travel up to 50 miles (80 km) in one night when foraging for food, and it will sometimes follow the migrations of its prey. The spotted hyena’s senses of sight, hearing, and smell are keen, and when chasing prey, C. crocuta can run an average of 25 to 30 miles per hour (40 to 50 km per hour), with pursuit usually lasting less than 1 mile (1.6 km). Only about a third of the chases are successful, however, but when C. crocuta does bring down its prey, it can consume 32 pounds (14.5 kg) of food in one meal, including the skin and bones.

The striped hyena usually spends daylight hours sheltered beneath overhanging rocks and at night, when searching for food, moves in a zigzag pattern. Members of the East African population appear to be primarily solitary, but more northerly groups, which have a greater tendency toward predation than scavenging, may be more sociable. Members of this species will defend a small territory around the breeding den but also have a larger, surrounding home range.

The brown hyena is mainly a scavenger, eating the remains of large mammals. Other food sources include fruit, eggs, insects, and rodents. During certain times of the year, species members may derive up to half of their diet from vegetation. In addition, brown hyenas are found along shorelines, scavenging dead crabs, fish, and seals. P. brunnea may store food in shrubs or holes, though normally only for a day.


Jackal is any of four species of wild African dogs. Coloration differs according to species, with the upper-body fur ranging from mottled black or gray to reddish or yellowish red and the underside varying from white to pale ginger. Head-and-body length measures 24 to 42 inches (60 to 106 cm), and the tail extends approximately one-quarter to one-half as long. The shoulder height ranges from 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm). Adults can weigh between 14 and 33 pounds (6.5 and 15 kg), with C. simensis being the largest species.

Reproduction, Development, and Longevity

The jackal’s gestation period lasts between 57 and 70 days. Litter size ranges from one to nine offspring but, depending on the species, averages two to six young. Offspring begin to consume solid food at about 3 months of age, and after 6 months they begin hunting on their own. Sexual maturity occurs at approximately 10 to 11 months. Both parents feed and protect their offspring. Captive-raised specimens of various species have lived 10 to 16 years.

Behavior, Diet, and Environmental Status

Jackals tend to be diurnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) in undisturbed habitats but are typically nocturnal in areas where they coexist with humans. Rather than belonging to a pack, most jackals live singly or in small family groups consisting of mated pairs and their offspring. Simien jackals are an exception, gathering in packs of 3 to 13 adults to rest at night and, at dawn, noon, and evening, for social interaction and to patrol the borders of their territory.

The side-striped and black-backed jackals den in old termite mounds or abandoned aardvark holes or dig burrows into hillsides. In contrast, C. simensis normally sleeps in the open, although during breeding season, nursing females and young offspring will use a den.

Omnivorous feeders, jackals consume a diet that includes fruit, seeds, insects, carrion, rodents, birds, fish, frogs, reptiles, and larger prey. Although they are often depicted as scavengers that feed on carcasses of animals killed by lions, jackals are capable hunters, typically preying on rodents and the young of many small- to medium-sized antelopes.



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