Friday, November 12, 2010

Totems: Spotted Hyena

The spotted hyena is an animal thought to be scavengers, true that they scavenge seeing a free meal is still a free meal but studies have shown that it is quite the good hunter. In the past people such as the Roman poet Ovid thought this animal could change gender, quite a few ancient writers are said to claim the spotted hyena as a hermaphrodite with the Greek philosopher Aristotle saying such a claim being untrue.
Even today people think of hyenas as scavengers despite their prowess in hunting and the fact that any predator will take a free meal if given the chance. One claim in a documentary even kept to me and I have remembered it since, that spotted hyenas are possibly the second most aggressive animal (only behind of humans).

Spotted hyenas live in clans, and will work together as a team to hunt food and even chase of or even kill their worst enemies, the lion. Teamwork may be a lesson, but so is trickery, as some low ranking hyenas will send off a sound while the high ranking hyenas eat, telling others there is a threat that needs to be dealt with such as an intruding lion. When the other hyenas go check out this non-existing threat the low-ranking hyena will eat. Trickery certainly isn’t limited to getting a meal sooner, it can be used to hunt or to defend one’s territory, both which needs teamwork.

The power of laughter is another lesson the spotted hyena teaches, and laughter can have quite the effect on people. The spotted hyena is indeed a vocal animal, using not only body language but sounds. Giggles and laughter are said to tend to be of great excitement. Laughter can help lighten the tension during tough times and it is laughter that is said to have quite a number of healthy side-effects.

Mistaken identity is what has happened to the spotted hyena in the past distant and even today. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, though it easily could be. Hyenas, as mentioned earlier are thought of scavengers when in truth any predator will eat any edible meat and amusingly hyenas are excellent hunters (said to catch 95% of what they eat). Though people think of hyenas as scavengers it isn’t a bad thing as they will scavenge if given the chance.

When offering to a spotted hyena, bones would make a great offering but meat fresh or rotten also make good offerings. The spotted hyena isn’t the fussiest eater, but it may rather get more meat or bones, even having  preference to getting the same amount of meat as bone.

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