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!
ExplorationKnow Your Laugh!
How do you laugh? Is it a HA-HA-HA? Do you laugh through your nose? Do you snort? Do you use your voice or is it just air? There are many different ways to laugh!
Do you laugh like someone in your family? If you can, try and get your mom or dad to laugh. You may need to think of a good joke first! Do you laugh like them? Maybe you laugh like your friends or like a character on TV? Where do you think your laugh comes from?
Sources & links
Palmer, Jason. “Hyena Giggles No Laughing Matter.” 12 May 2009. BBC News. 13 Dec. 2009 Kruszelnicki, Karl S. “Dr. Karl.” “Horrible Hyena a Real Pussycat.” Dr. Karl’s Great Moments in Science. 1 December 2009. ABC Science. 13 December 2009. “Mammals: Spotted Hyena.” San Diego Zoo. 13 December 2009.