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There are three types of hyenas: the spotted hyena, the brown hyena, and the striped hyena. All three types live in Africa, although they do not live together as packs. Although they look like felines or canines, they are actually in the Hyaenidae group.

The most commonly seen hyena is the spotted hyena. It is a scavenger that lives in the savannas of east Africa. It lives in packs with other spotted hyenas, scavenging food left behind from lion hunts. Hyenas communicate by howling, which sounds like a laugh; for this reason, spotted hyenas are also called laughing hyenas.


In other countries, hyena is spelled as hyaena. For example, Hilaire Belloc wrote a poem called The Hyaena.