Hyena Trivia Quiz Questions and Answers

1: Which of these is the smallest member of the hyena family?
A: Spotted hyena
B: Brown hyena
C: Aardwolf
D: Striped hyena
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The aardwolf, Proteles cristata, is the smallest member of the hyena family.

2: How many extant species of hyenas are there?
A: 2
B: 4
C: 6
D: 8
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: There are four extant species of hyenas: spotted hyena, brown hyena, aardwolf, and striped hyena.

3: What dietary habit is unique to the aardwolf compared to other hyenas?
A: Scavenging
B: Hunting large prey
C: Insectivory
D: Eating fruits
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The aardwolf is specialized in feeding on termites, making it unique among hyenas, which are primarily scavengers or hunters.

4: Which hyena species is known for its highly social pack hunting behavior?
A: Striped hyena
B: Brown hyena
C: Spotted hyena
D: Aardwolf
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The spotted hyena is known for its social structure and pack hunting behavior, unlike the other hyena species.

5: In which order do hyenas belong?
A: Primates
B: Carnivora
C: Rodentia
D: Cetacea
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Hyenas belong to the order Carnivora, which includes many other meat-eating mammals.

6: What unique trait do hyenas share with canids due to convergent evolution?
A: Arboreal lifestyle
B: Retractable claws
C: Non-arboreal, cursorial hunting
D: Prehensile tails
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Both hyenas and canids are non-arboreal, cursorial hunters that catch prey with their teeth rather than claws.

7: Where did hyenas originally evolve?
A: North America
B: South America
C: Eurasia
D: Australia
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Hyenas originated in the jungles of Miocene Eurasia around 22 million years ago.

8: What is the primary reason for the extinction of the dog-like hyenas?
A: Climate change and competition with canids
B: Overhunting by humans
C: Disease outbreaks
D: Lack of food supply
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The dog-like hyenas became extinct due to climate change and competition with canids that crossed into Eurasia.

9: Which hyena species is noted for the ability to digest the terpene excretions from soldier termites?
A: Spotted hyena
B: Striped hyena
C: Brown hyena
D: Aardwolf
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The aardwolf has a unique ability to digest the terpene excretions from soldier termites.

10: Which ancient civilization’s folklore includes beliefs about hyenas influencing people’s spirits and using their body parts in traditional medicine?
A: Roman
B: Egyptian
C: Greek
D: African
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: African cultures have rich folklore and myths involving hyenas influencing people’s spirits and using their body parts in traditional medicine.

11: What was significant about the ancient megascavenger Pachycrocuta?
A: It was the only hyena to exist in North America.
B: It could splinter the bones of elephants.
C: It was the longest-lived hyena species.
D: It exclusively ate fruits.
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Pachycrocuta was a 200 kg mega-scavenger capable of splintering the bones of elephants.

12: How long ago did the lineage of the spotted hyena diverge from the brown and striped hyenas?
A: 1 million years ago
B: 5 million years ago
C: 10 million years ago
D: 20 million years ago
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The spotted hyena diverged from the brown and striped hyena lineages around 10 million years ago.

13: Which of these is NOT a behavior consistent with feliforms seen in hyenas?
A: Grooming
B: Retracting claws
C: Scent marking
D: Mating behavior
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Unlike feliforms, hyenas have non-retractable claws.

14: Which unique vocalization is primarily associated with the spotted hyena?
A: Howling
B: Laugh-like sounds
C: Roaring
D: Purring
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The spotted hyena is noted for its laugh-like vocalizations.

15: What function does the anal gland secretion of a hyena primarily serve?
A: Attracting mates
B: Territorial marking
C: Defense mechanism
D: Communication with offspring
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Hyenas use their anal gland secretions primarily for territorial marking.

16: Why are spotted hyenas able to hunt both individually and in packs unlike other hyenas?
A: They have retractable claws.
B: They are the largest hyenas.
C: They developed sharp carnassials for hunting.
D: They live in dens.
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Spotted hyenas evolved sharp carnassials that allow them to successfully hunt both individually and in packs.

17: Which extinct hyena species managed to cross into North America?
A: Pachycrocuta
B: Ictitherium viverrinum
C: Chasmaporthetes ossifragus
D: Lycyaena chaeretis
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Chasmaporthetes ossifragus was the only hyena species to cross into North America.

18: What is the hyena’s primary means of securing food in African ecosystems?
A: Climbing trees for fruits
B: Hunting medium to large-sized ungulates
C: Fishing in rivers
D: Foraging for nuts
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Spotted hyenas, in particular, primarily hunt medium to large-sized ungulates in African ecosystems.

19: In which class of animals do hyenas belong?
A: Reptilia
B: Amphibia
C: Mammalia
D: Aves
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Hyenas belong to the class Mammalia, which includes all mammals.

20: How do aardwolves primarily consume their food?
A: Using their claws to dig
B: By chewing with sharp molars
C: Licking up insects with their long tongues
D: By cracking bones with strong jaws
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Aardwolves have long, broad tongues specialized for licking up termites and other insects.

21: What kind of diet does the striped hyena have?
A: Herbivorous
B: Carnivorous and scavenging
C: Omnivorous
D: Insectivorous
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The striped hyena is primarily a scavenger, but it also hunts and kills any animals it can overcome.

22: Which feature is NOT characteristic of hyena anatomy?
A: Short torsos
B: Long facial portions
C: Non-retractable claws
D: Sloping backs
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Hyenas have shorter facial portions, unlike canids.

23: In which folklore are hyenas sometimes depicted as witches’ mounts?
A: Greek
B: Roman
C: East African
D: Celtic
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: In East African folklore, witches are sometimes believed to use spotted hyenas as mounts.

24: What method do striped hyenas use when threatened by predators like lions or dogs?
A: They hide in trees.
B: They play dead.
C: They attack ferociously.
D: They flee immediately.
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Striped hyenas will feign death when attacked by lions or dogs.

25: By which behavior do male spotted hyenas differ from male striped hyenas regarding their cubs?
A: Male spotted hyenas help raise cubs.
B: Male spotted hyenas play no part in raising cubs.
C: Male striped hyenas abandon the cubs.
D: Male striped hyenas eat their cubs.
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Male spotted hyenas play no part in raising their cubs, whereas male striped hyenas do.

26: Which African region is known for a mythological tribe that could transform into hyenas?
A: Ethiopia
B: Nigeria
C: Congo
D: Sudan
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: In Africa, a mythical tribe known as the Bouda, primarily associated with Nigeria, is believed to be able to transform into hyenas.

27: Which hyena species is believed to have a unique disease resistance to rabies?
A: Striped hyena
B: Spotted hyena
C: Brown hyena
D: Aardwolf
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Spotted hyenas have shown little or no disease-induced mortality during rabies outbreaks in sympatric carnivores.

28: Which ancient scientist wrote about hyenas being vampiric creatures?
A: Aristotle
B: Hippocrates
C: al-Damīrī
D: Pliny the Elder
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The Arab writer al-Damīrī described striped hyenas as vampiric creatures in his writings.

29: By which name are the rough, leaf-like pads on a hyena’s paws known?
A: Paw pads
B: Foot cushions
C: Paw prints
D: Plantar ridges
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Hyenas have rough, leaf-like structures known as paw pads on their paws, helping them with traction and movement.

30: In some Middle Eastern legends, how are hyenas believed to mesmerize their victims?
A: By singing lullabies
B: By starring intently
C: By using their eyes or pheromones
D: By dancing
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Arab folklore tells of how hyenas can mesmerize victims with their eyes or sometimes with their pheromones.

31: What distinctive feature does the skeleton of an aardwolf possess?
A: Massive jawbones
B: Reduced molars and carnassials
C: Long and sharp claws
D: Elongated hind legs
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The aardwolf has greatly reduced molars and carnassials, which are rendered redundant due to its insectivorous diet.

32: Besides scavenging, what else is part of the striped hyena’s diet?
A: Fruits
B: Birds
C: Fish
D: Grass
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The striped hyena also supplements its diet with fruits.

33: Which hyaenid family member left behind human hair in its fossilized dung dating back 195,000 to 257,000 years?
A: Aardwolf
B: Cave hyena
C: Brown hyena
D: Striped hyena
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Human hair has been found in fossilized dung of the cave hyena, Crocuta crocuta spelaea, dating back 195,000 to 257,000 years.

34: What key factor might have caused the extinction of spotted hyenas in Europe at the end of the last Ice Age?
A: Rising sea levels
B: Competition from wolves and humans
C: Extreme cold
D: Lack of prey
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The extinction of spotted hyenas in Europe is thought to be influenced by competition from wolves and humans, which were favored by the change to closed forests after the last Ice Age.

35: What is the typical social structure of a brown hyena?
A: Completely solitary
B: Lives in family groups and congregates at kills
C: Forms large migratory packs
D: Lives in dense, underground colonies
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Brown hyenas may live in family groups and congregate at kills, though they are generally not as gregarious as spotted hyenas.

36: Where did the Indian Crocuta sivalensis, the ancestor of the spotted hyena, originate?
A: Africa
B: North America
C: Europe
D: India
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The direct ancestor of the spotted hyena, Crocuta sivalensis, originated in India.

37: What anatomical feature do hyenas lack that is present in canids?
A: Baculum
B: Premolars
C: Carnassials
D: Anal glands
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Hyenas lack a baculum, which is a bone present in the penis of many other mammals, including canids.

38: In ancient Greek folklore, which figure is often believed to transform into a hyena?
A: Zeus
B: Hera
C: Bouda tribe members
D: Odysseus
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: In ancient Greek folklore, the Bouda tribe members were reputed to have the ability to transform into hyenas.

39: What is the primary reason the aardwolf has remained successful despite other dog-like hyenas becoming extinct?
A: Its larger size
B: Insectivorous diet
C: Competing as top scavenger
D: Adaptation to cold climates
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The aardwolf’s success is attributed to its insectivorous diet, which faced no competition from canids.

40: Which cultural depiction associates hyenas with witchcraft?
A: European
B: East African
C: Australian
D: Chinese
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: In East African culture, hyenas are often depicted as being associated with witchcraft.

41: When is territorial marking crucial for hyenas?
A: Winter season
B: During the night
C: Throughout the breeding season
D: To avoid encroachment by other hyenas
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Territorial marking is crucial for hyenas to avoid encroachment by other hyenas into their territories.

42: What social function does vocalization serve in spotted hyenas?
A: It signals danger to other species.
B: It attracts mates from distant areas.
C: It communicates with clan members.
D: It repels intruders.
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Vocalizations in spotted hyenas are used primarily to communicate with other members of their clan.

43: Why are hyenas significant in the African ecosystems?
A: They propagate plant pollination.
B: They control the insect population.
C: They are vital scavengers consuming carcasses.
D: They help in seed dispersal.
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Hyenas are important scavengers, consuming carcasses and playing a vital role in the ecosystem’s nutrient cycle.

44: What attribute is unique to female spotted hyenas compared to other hyena species?
A: Larger size and dominance over males
B: Brightly colored pelage
C: Ability to fly
D: Retractable claws
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Female spotted hyenas are larger than and dominate males, unique among hyena species.

45: Which factor might explain the spotted hyena’s resistance to rabies outbreaks?
A: Strong hide and physical defense
B: High concentration of antibodies in their saliva
C: Avoidance of infected prey
D: Seasonal migration patterns
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The high concentration of antibodies present in the saliva of spotted hyenas contributes to their resistance to rabies outbreaks.

46: In what African folklore context are hyena body parts used?
A: To ward off evil and as love medicine
B: For creating musical instruments
C: For trading as currency
D: To depict them in art
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: In African folklore, hyena body parts are used in traditional medicine to ward off evil and ensure love and fertility.

47: How are spotted hyenas’ dental structures adapted for their diet?
A: They have highly developed cheek teeth for chewing plants.
B: Their premolars and carnassials are optimized for bone-crushing.
C: They possess beaks for pecking.
D: Their incisors are adapted for cutting meat only.
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Spotted hyenas have powerful carnassials and premolars that are highly specialized for bone-crushing.

48: Which myth involves hyena feces enabling children to walk earlier?
A: Greek myth
B: Egyptian folklore
C: Tanzanian belief
D: Celtic legend
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: In the Mtwara Region of Tanzania, it’s believed that hyena feces can help a child walk at an early age.

49: What unique trait of the aardwolf’s diet contributes to its survival?
A: Unrivaled ability to digest termites
B: Exclusive hunting of rodents
C: Dependence on scavenging
D: Eating fresh foliage
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The aardwolf’s unique ability to digest termites contributes significantly to its survival.

50: Which term did ancient cultures use for the hyena that also means “hypocrite” in modern Hebrew?
A: Hýaina
B: Tsavua
C: Protelidae
D: Euhyaena
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: In modern Hebrew, the word for hyena (tsavua) also means hypocrite.

51: Why did the dog-like hyenas become extinct?
A: Over-predation by felines
B: Climate change and competition from canids
C: Natural disasters
D: Infestations of parasites
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The dog-like hyenas became extinct due to climate change and competition from canids that crossed into Eurasia.

52: How do spotted hyenas interact with lions and other larger predators?
A: They avoid them completely.
B: They often drive them off from their kills.
C: They share their prey with other predators.
D: They follow them to find food.
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Spotted hyenas are known to drive off larger predators like lions from their kills.

53: What kind of diet does the spotted hyena primarily follow?
A: Herbivorous diet
B: Diet consisting mainly of fish
C: Active pack hunting and scavenging
D: Insectivorous diet
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The spotted hyena is both an active pack hunter and scavenger.

54: What behavior is unique about the reproduction manner of spotted hyenas?
A: Long copulation similar to canids
B: Multiple short copulations
C: Single long mating session
D: Hermaphroditic reproduction
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Mating between spotted hyenas involves multiple short copulations with brief intervals.

55: How do hyenas typically mark their territory?
A: With their claws
B: Through urination
C: Using their anal gland secretions
D: By barking
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Hyenas primarily mark their territories using their anal gland secretions.

56: How do hyenas rank in the hierarchy of scavengers in most African ecosystems?
A: As the top scavengers
B: Second to vultures
C: Primary competitors of jackals
D: Meek followers of larger predators
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Hyenas, particularly bone-crushing ones, are often the top scavengers in African ecosystems.

57: What is the primary method of communication among spotted hyenas?
A: Digging burrows
B: Vocalizations
C: Using radiant colors
D: Building nests
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Spotted hyenas use various vocalizations as their primary method of communication

58: How do young spotted hyenas differ from striped hyenas at birth?
A: Spotted hyena cubs are born partially developed.
B: Striped hyena cubs are larger at birth.
C: Spotted hyena cubs have adult markings.
D: Striped hyena cubs have larger ears.
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Spotted hyena cubs are born almost fully developed with open eyes and erupting incisors and canines, unlike striped hyena cubs.

59: Which hyena is known to attack and kill animals during the night?
A: Aardwolf
B: Brown hyena
C: Striped hyena
D: Spotted hyena
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The spotted hyena is known for its ability to hunt and kill animals, even during the night.

60: Why are hyenas generally not considered cowardly in nature despite folklore?
A: They primarily hunt in the daytime.
B: They avoid human interaction.
C: They can drive off larger predators from their kills.
D: They are primarily herbivores.
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Despite their portrayal in folklore, hyenas can drive off larger predators from their kills, showcasing their bravery and dominance in scavenging and hunting.

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