What Is the Hyena Food Chain?

Hyenas are apex predators that sit at the top of the food chain. They prey upon a number of herbivores, including gazelles, impalas, wildebeests and zebras. Few animals are capable of catching and killing healthy adult hyenas but lions, leopards, hunting dogs and other hyenas occasionally eat sick and young hyenas.

Hyenas are primarily scavengers and they are very opportunistic in finding food. A large group of the animals are often able to drive lions or other predators away from their kills. Hyenas have a special tooth in their mouth that allows them to crack through bone very easily so that they can obtain the nutritious marrow locked inside. In addition to carrion, hyenas scavenge for a variety of supplemental foods, including fruits, vegetables, insects and human refuse.

Hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals, and they are very social, which allows them to take down larger prey than they would be able to do so on their own. Hyenas are well-known for being very vocal animals and their constant vocalizations allow the members of the group to keep in touch with each other.

While attacks on humans are rare, hyenas may represent a danger to individuals walking around at night. However, hyenas prefer to find the easiest and safest food available, so they usually avoid people.