If I didn’t have a degree in finance or work in different humanitarian aid endeavours such as schools and human rights institutions, I would be a zoologist or a vet. This love for nature was captured in my nursery school report as a kid who loves playing with living objects. Then, I had a mini zoo composed of matchboxes, transparent bottles, and cans, where I kept spiders, worms, ants, flies, and every living insect I came across. Interestingly, I was keen on studying these insects. I learned a lot about insects from observing. At a young age, this sparked my interest to know more about life around me and increased my love for learning.
My first encounter with the spotted Hyena was at a Songhai Center, located in Nigeria. With its bloodshot eyes, threatening teeth, and large furry tattooed-like head, it could pass for a demon. But it was scared, (at least I thought so) as it ran around in its cage trying to avoid onlookers. Later, I learned that it was shy. Hyenas are beautiful animals and play a practical role in our ecosystem. If you like to see one in its natural habitat then you must go for a Safari in Africa.
The Spotted Hyena
Zoological Name: Crocuta Crocuta
Igbo Name: Agu Okpo
English Name: Spotted Hyena
– It has the strongest bite force and teeth in the world. A bite can easily break a human bone in two.
– Hyenas make a hysterical sound that scientists assume sounds like laughter. But no, that’s not laughing.
– Together with African Lions, they are the apex predators in the African wilderness.
– Apart from Lions, other big cats in the African jungle stand no chance with the Spotted Hyena. It is known to steal kills from Leopards, Cheetahs, and even Lions.
– Hyenas are intelligent and opportunistic. Contrary to the belief that they are dirty and sinister, these beautiful animals help to keep the environment neat. Just like vultures, they consume fur, bones, hooves, and flesh. They even eat decaying carcasses too.