Do hyenas eat humans?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question, “Do hyenas eat humans?”

Do hyenas eat humans?

Yes, hyenas do eat humans. Sometimes hyenas will eat humans if they are cornered or starving. Both the striped and the spotted hyena are formidable predators, and either one could easily kill a human being if it so desired. 

When food is scarce in their native environment, hyenas have been seen turning to humans for sustenance.

Spotted hyenas are among the most dangerous of all hyenas. When hyenas are guarding their cubs or their territory, they can be quite dangerous. Spotted hyenas have a bite force of 1100 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is enough to break bones. 

Violence with humans is on the rise as the human population in Africa continues to grow, and they target the most defenseless members of society, such as children and women.

Hyenas are sometimes misunderstood; against popular belief, they are capable of engaging in active predation, and not just feasting on the carcasses of animals that have already been killed.

What are hyenas?

Members of the family Hyaenidae, which includes the hyena, are feliform carnivores. It has only four living species, making it the shortest biological family in the order Carnivora and one of the smallest in the order Mammalia. Hyenas are singular and essential members of many African ecosystems, despite their low diversity.

Hyenas share several behavioral and anatomical features with canids, despite their close evolutionary proximity to felines and viverrids under the suborder Feliformia. For example, both hyenas and canids are non-arboreal, cursorial hunters who seize prey with their teeth rather than their claws. 

Both are able to consume food rapidly and store it for later, and they have feet that are calloused and equipped with huge, blunt, non retractable claws. Hyenas, like other feliforms, have similar grooming, scent marking, defecation, mating, and parenting routines.

The spotted hyena is well-known as a scavenger that frequently consumes the remains of other carnivores. The wildebeest and antelope are no match for these stoic creatures, which are also expert hunters. They also hunt and consume insects, reptiles, and birds.

How to prepare yourself for the attack of a hyena?

If your main exposure to hyenas has been in media like cartoons and movies, you are likely to grossly underestimate its size and strength. Actually, hyenas may weigh up to 190 pounds, making them much bigger and stronger than you might think.

Even more impressive is the fact that they eat right on down towards the bone because their jaws are so powerful they can easily crush the bones of their victim.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself in the unlikely event that you do encounter a hyena.

Do not run

Predators like hyenas have a natural inclination to pursue fleeing prey. If you ever find yourself face to face with one of these creatures, it’s best to stay where you are and keep your cool.

If the animal approaches you out of curiosity, you can scare it off by making it believe you are indeed a predator by taking a few steps in its direction.

To scare away a hyena, you should make yourself appear larger than life by spreading your arms and shaking them about, and by making lots of loud noises.

By projecting an image of aggression, you can make the animal believe that you want to attack it, increasing the likelihood that it will flee from you.

Throw your food

When they aren’t in packs, hyenas are scavengers who look for easy pickings.

Therefore, if you do have any food with you, toss it to the animal while it is far from you. When it shows interest in the meal, back slowly away while keeping your back to the hyena.

You should also look around to see whether there are any trash cans or dead animals. Perhaps the hyena was drawn to the scent of them and happened upon you by complete happenstance. Keep your back to the animal and back away gradually and slowly.

Remember to stay there if the hyena shows symptoms of challenging you, like chuckling or growling, rather than running away. Do something scary and loud, and use whatever you can get your hands on, like a plastic or trash bag, to generate a noise.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “Do hyenas eat humans?”


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