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Why do Hyenas Laugh?

Hyenas use sound to recognize intruders and each other. Their highly social nature means they have evolved a broad range of vocalizations.

From the moment they are born, cubs use a noise called a squitter to communicate with their mothers. Perhaps the most famous sound of all is the giggle that gives them the nickname laughing hyena but there's nothing funny about this noise.

It signals high stress, often heard when they come across their arch enemy’s lions. It's a sound that animals make when there’s competition. It's a sound that low-ranking animals make when they’re either getting beaten up or afraid they won’t get access to food.

Every hyena has an individual whoop with a unique sound pattern, the hyena equivalent of signing your name. It helps them coordinate their movements, hunt, and keep track of their clan members.

One Mr. Kevin went to try an experiment to see how hyenas respond when they hear intruders in their territory. To protect his equipment from inquisitive teeth and claws, Kevin took to the safety of a cage. He was not sure how they'll react.

Kevin played the whoop of a total stranger that the clan had never heard before.

A Hyena approached the sound and lowered his head as he started to whoop. In response, a call that rallied together the dominant hyenas to search for the intruder, and then they came and they greeted each other just to reaffirm their bonds.

It was what you would expect if there was an unfamiliar hyena in their territory, I mean they got to understand where’s he came from, and why is he there and get rid of him.

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Hyenas Kevin


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