Although somewhat dog-like in appearance, the hyaenas are placed in a family of their own and are more closely related to cats than dogs!

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Breeding

Hyaenas do not pair bond.  When a female is ready to mate, this might be with any pack member she chooses.  Female hyaenas make males who join a pack wait for several years before permitting mating. 

Pregnant hyaenas go off alone to give birth and then move their cubs back to the pack’s den once they are around a month old.  The cubs from several females will grow up together in one den and the adults are very protective of the cubs. 

Female hyaenas have only two nipples, so they tend to have no more than two cubs per litter.  In the event that they give birth to three, the weakest, least aggressive one usually dies. 

Male striped hyaenas help to raise their young by bringing them food, though male spotted hyaenas do not.  This is in part because striped hyaenas are born with their eyes closed and remain helpless for some days, whereas spotted hyaenas are born alert, with their eyes open and their teeth already beginning to break through.  Hyaenas do not develop their bone crushing jaw strength for two or three years, however, so females care for the cubs for longer than many other predators, making sure that they are granted time to feed at a scavenged kill by fighting off other members of the pack.

Read More: Hyaenas and Humans

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