The spotted hyena is sometimes called the laughing hyena. It’s an African animal that looks a little bit like a dog, but is actually more closely related to cats! It is most well known for making a noise that sounds like a person laughing hysterically. It actually sounds really similar to a person’s laugh, but the hyenas don’t make the noise because they think something is funny.
The “laughing” is actually a noise they make when they are excited or frightened. They may laugh when finding food or when being chased, and they can hear each other's laughs from up to three miles away! Hyenas make a lot of other noises too. They are very vocal animals, and it helps them communicate with each other! They can live in huge groups with 50 to 100 other hyenas, so it’s a good thing they can make sounds to get their messages across!