pet hyenas
November 3, 2007 7:26 AM   Subscribe

The Hyena Men, seen a couple of years ago and now updated: Pieter Hugo's gallery of photographs of people with hyenas and baboons as pets in Abuja, Nigeria.Text.


Hyena teeth

Pet hyenas Damascus, Syria

Theodore Roosevelt kept a hyena as a pet (from the amusing Presidential pets collection)

The Paradoxical Predator

Peeking through fingers, gory YT: hyenas, lions vs hyenas (loud music). The Lion King version.

Interesting tangent, the female hyena gives birth through her clitoris, ouch.
posted by nickyskye (12 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Aaaaand I just found my new profile pic.

Seriously, I love these photos.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:46 AM on November 3, 2007

I never realized how large Hyenas are.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:49 AM on November 3, 2007

Gotta love the big chains. Might as well try to control a bulldozer with those.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:00 AM on November 3, 2007


This one is just terrifying.

I know a guy who, in his perambulations in the Oakland hills, has seen a hyena. He's a naturalist and observer, and I have fair confidence in his ID skills. He told me that that he was hiking one day when he spotted something down the ridge from where he was; his first thought was that it was a really ugly dog. But the spots, the rounded ears, and the front end being higher than the back end all made him think that it must have been a spotted hyena. The clincher seemed to come when he called UC Berkeley, which has a breeding colony of spotted hyenas that they study, to ask if they were missing one. They denied they were, but they asked a lot of questions about exactly where he'd seen it, what it had been doing, and so on. Hmmm!
posted by rtha at 8:01 AM on November 3, 2007

hmmm, indeed. That is one of my fave-scary images too, a post-Apocalyptic bravado.

Your anecdote reminds me of the excellent supernatural thriller by Dean Koontz, Watchers, When Travis Cornell...encounters a stray dog while hiking, he quickly realizes that the animal is most unusual...The encounter with the dog is the beginning of a tightly woven plot involving genetic manipulation that has created two extraordinary animals; one is the dog, named Einstein, the other is a murderous hybrid called "The Outsider."

Sort of like Twins, the movie, with Einstein the Golden Retriever being the Arnold character and the hyena-monsteroid being the Danny one. (big fan of Koontz' early novels).
posted by nickyskye at 8:22 AM on November 3, 2007

From what I've read, hyena don't typically attack humans, but when they do the results can be catastrophic. These beasts have powerful jaws that are made for crunching bones. I remember reading a horrific story in Harper's or the New Yorker about 10 years ago. An American naturalist woman was writing about a hyena that had adopted the people in their encampment, that it was fairly docile to the point where several members of the their crew had adopted it. At any rate, one day it decided it had had enough, and turned on her and basically took her arm off up to the elbow. Luckily someone in her party had a weapon and was able to kill it, otherwise she would very likely have been completely devoured. Incredibly story, I wish I could find it online, it's stayed with me all these years.
posted by psmealey at 8:24 AM on November 3, 2007

It is with heartfelt hope that I write to seek your co-operation and assistance in the context stated below: May I first introduce my self as Dr. Mrs. Mariam Abacha, the wife of Late General Sani Abacha who died suddenly on 8th June 1998. My husband kept 24,000 kilograms of hyena food in a warehouse in Lagos (Security and Finance Storage Pty Ltd). As it is equally required, the administration of my late husband's hyena food is under the authority of his cousin (Mr Timothy Onoh).However, the current civilian administration of retired General Olusegun Obasanjo (the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) is seeking vengeance on the Abacha family because of claims that he stole his baboon. I expect you to be trustworthy and kind enough to respond to this distress call to save me and my hyena from a hopeless future. And we have agreed to compensate you sincerely for your candid effort in this regard with 5% of the total amount of $10 Million US Dollars. In that case, when the money ($10 Million) is moved into your discrete account, you will be allowed to draw 25% in your favour, while the remaining 75% will be invested meaningfully for my hyena's future.

Best wishes,

posted by rolypolyman at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2007 [6 favorites]

whoa psmealey. It makes sense the muzzles the men in Abuja created for their monsters. What roils my gut are the pictures of the unmuzzled hyenas hanging out with people. Especially the kissy face ones. Oh noes! Or, uh oh, no nose.

In Northern India jackals and hyenas hang out together. The jackals yip yip yip yowl ooo and the hyenas laugh bwa ha ha. Scary night opera.

rolypolyman, You're naughty.
posted by nickyskye at 8:41 AM on November 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ever wonder who else may have signed your timesharing contract? From National Geographic News, Neandertals, Hyenas Fought for Caves, Food:
Neandertals not only fought for their lives against hyenas and other large predators but also battled with them for caves and food.

That's the conclusion drawn by scientists who found a 41,000-year-old Neandertal leg bone in a European cave littered with bones. The bones had been gnawed on by large carnivores or showed the cut marks of stone tools—or both.

The debris provides evidence that Neandertals (also spelled Neanderthals) and large carnivores, mostly hyenas, both used the Les Rochers-de-Villeneuve cave in central western France for shelter.
On average, prehistoric Cave Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta spelaea) were bigger than today's Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta crocuta), but were still smaller than the largest known hyena, the lion-sized Pacyhcrocuta brevirostus.

More about extinct Hyaena species at the Hyaena Specialist Group.
posted by cenoxo at 9:52 AM on November 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

At a stop in Abuja waits this natty pair,
ID'd as Dayaba plus sidekick named Clear.
Even though the bus driver,
Was offered a fiver,
No sale: "Try again once that kid's bathed in Nair!"
posted by rob511 at 8:17 PM on November 3, 2007

I remember how fascinated and shocked I was when I saw the picture of a man in Lagos with a hyena on a chain in the booklet of Gorillaz' Demon Days.

Does anyone know how long people have had hyenas as pets?

I wonder if, a millenium or two from now, hyenas will be as domesticated as dogs and cats, existing in a variety as dizzying and wide.
posted by Kattullus at 8:47 PM on November 3, 2007

I don't like hyenas, but it makes me sad to see them (and the baboons) chained up and muzzled. And it seems like most of the hyena and baboon handlers carry switches, which they must use on the animals.

From the "Syria" link:

Shwaykani is a hunter of dangerous animals which he keeps at his home and farm.

Ooh, what a he-man. Fucking asshole.
posted by Devils Slide at 3:44 AM on November 4, 2007

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