Forget what you’ve learned about hyaenas in the movies!

Despite the species’ spotty reputation, you might be surprised to learn how smart and sweet-natured hyaenas are!

Perth Zoo is home to two beautiful ambassador Spotted Hyaenas, Kigana and Sabi. And if their adorable faces aren’t enough to convince you,  here’s five reasons why this species is way more special than you might think. 

Clever carnivores

Hyaenas are incredibly smart and have even been known to outperform some primates in problem-solving tasks. 

Our keepers provide Sabi and Kigana with plenty of enrichment, including a personalised training program, to keep their intelligent minds ticking. 

Not only does this activity provide mental stimulation for the hyaenas, but it allows our keepers to provide top-notch health care by looking at their teeth and feeling for body condition, and even administering ear cream or a needle if necessary. 

Nature’s cleaners

While they are excellent hunters, they also play an important role in the ecosystem as scavengers. Their strong digestive system allows them to eat all parts of an animal – meat, skin and bone included. 


No laughing matter

The infamous hyaena laugh is a noise they make when they’re nervous or super stimulated and excited. They aren’t quite as vocal as the movies make them seem!

Social bunch

In the wild, hyaenas are a very social species, living in clans with as many as 100 individuals! These clans are often made up of smaller family groups, who may break away and come back together over the seasons. 

Here at Perth Zoo, Sabi and Kigana have strong bonds with their keepers and will eagerly participate in positive reinforcement training to spend one-on-one time with their keeper friend. 

Females are in charge

Hyaenas live in a matriarchal society, meaning females rule the roost!