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Animal Facts - Hyenas

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In this page, we will look at the Hyenas.

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Why do hyenas laugh?

The spotted hyena, or “laughing hyena,” as it is often called, doesn’t actually laugh. Even though its scientific name, Crocuta crocuta, does sound like someone laughing, the hyena doesnrsquo;t find anything the least bit funny. If you hear a hyena making its characteristic high-pitched, cackling sound, chances are it has just been chased or is about to get into a fight. That sound is one of several ways hyenas communicate that they’re scared or excited. Hyenas are most likely to "laugh" after being attacked and while being chased around by another hyena fighting for a piece of carcass. The laughing hyena seems to be signaling that it wants to be left alone.

The spotted hyena is very vocal, producing a number of different sounds consisting of whoops, grunts, groans, lows, giggles, yells, growls, laughs and whines. There are other types of hyenas like the brown hyena and striped hyena, but they are not as vocal as the spotted hyena.

plain zebra

Two hyenas cackling ("laughing") while fighting over a piece of skin.
Another animal that "laughs" is the Kookaburra.

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