24 April 2022

Hyaena – Southwest Mountains

Whilst in the southwest mountains of Saudi Arabian we came across a lot of footprints of what we thought could be Striped Hyaena Hyaena hyaena sultana. We stayed until dark and set up Phil’s camera trap in the area where we had located the footprints and left it there for the night returning just before daylight to see what we had photographed. On arrival I could see fresh tracks in front of the camera and Phil looked at the photos and although some were of dogs there were a couple of different Hyaena. Phil has kindly allowed me to use his photo on my website which is shown below. Striped Hyaena have a body length of 1.1 m a tail length of 20 cms and they weigh between 35 and 40 kgs. They are grey or pale brown in colour with 5 – 9 dark coloured, vertical stripes on their flanks. They have a mane on their neck and shoulders, a bushy tail, rounded head with pointed ears set high on their heads and have a black, pointed muzzle. On each foot they have four toes with blunt, non-retractable claws. Their front legs are longer than their hind which gives their back a sloping appearance and they have powerful jaws with strong teeth. Striped Hyenas have excellent senses of vision, hearing and smell. They are usually silent but will vocalize if excited or threatened. When they feel threatened they are able to erect their mane and the hairs on their back to make themselves appear much larger. Dwindling numbers of the Striped Hyena exist in Saudi Arabia where they have lived for thousands of years as hyaena rock art is engraved on mountain rocks in different parts of the Kingdom. They live in open land close to agricultural areas, as well as in wadis and lava fields (Harat), and live a nomadic lifestyle.