Can Hyenas Be Pets? Everything You Didn’t Know About Hyenas

Who doesn’t want awesome hyenas? When you have a pet hyena it looks cool, right? So who does not want to look cool? Also, hyenas can be adorable and cute like dogs. But would hyenas make good pets? We’ll see!

Let me give you a concise and honest answer if hyenas make good pets.

Can hyenas be good pets? Yes, hyenas can be good pets, but you still need to be careful and have great safety precautions because they are still wild animals. However, it takes a lot of patience and time to make them tamed. So people that have no patience cannot keep hyenas as pets.

Let’s dig a little bit deeper and learn more about hyenas to see what are the negative side of keeping them as pets even if they can be good pets.

Everything You Should Know About Hyenas

Can Hyenas Be Pets?

Hyenas can be scary because of their laughs and giggles. They have made a bad reputation in the minds of people because of this. Also, some movies like Lion King, portray hyenas as villains or ferocious animals. 

Well yeah, hyenas can be scary and dangerous if they have not been domesticated. However, they can still be good pets if they have been trained and domesticated while they are young. 

Let’s take a look at some amazing facts about hyenas that you and other people don’t know. Knowing these facts will help you to decide if you are going to get a pet hyena.

Habitat Of Hyenas

There are many different types of hyenas, and each kind lives in its type of habitat. Brown hyenas live only in Southern Africa, and they can also be found in the Angola-Namibia border and Orange river in South Africa.

While the aardwolves live in southern Zambia, Angola, and Mozambique. They can also be found in northeastern Uganda and Somalia. Aardwolves have two distinct populations. The other subspecies of aardwolves are found in central Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

The spotted hyenas live in the Southern Sahara Desert. Striped hyenas live in North and Northeast Africa, the Middle East, and Asia up to Siberia. 

So, in conclusion, hyenas can be found in Africa and Asia. They live in the desert, savannas, grasslands, woodlands, forest edges, sub deserts, and even mountains.

What Do They Eat?

Hyenas are naturally born predators and hunters. They have sharp claws to attack and take down their prey. Hyenas hunt in groups called clans. Spotted hyenas are larger, and they are dominant and more aggressive. They are the one who leads the clan on hunting.

When they hunt, they usually hunt for animals like deers and antelopes. Also, hyenas often dine the leftovers of other predators. Hyenas are skilled hunters that will take down and prey. They also eat birds, lizards, snakes, and all types of insects.

Why Do Hyenas Laugh?

Like I have said above, hyenas look scary for most people because of their intimidating laughs. But why do they laugh? If you have been in a zoo with hyenas, then probably you heard their laughter. If you have not heard their laughs yet, check-in on youtube. 

Why do hyenas laugh? Hyenas often laugh after being attacked or chased by another hyena. Hyenas laugh or giggles when they are signaling that they want to be left alone by the other hyenas chasing or playing with them. Their laughs can also be a signal of excitement and fear.

Different Types Of Hyenas

To give you more about hyenas, these are the four famous types of hyenas. They can be found in the desert, jungles, grasslands, and mountains. Hyenas live in African and Asian countries. Let’s check them out!

Spotted Hyena

Spotted hyenas are called spotted hyenas because of black spots on their fur. They have powerful jaws and necks, and they are one of the animals that have a powerful bite force in the animal kingdom. Also, spotted hyenas are the largest and common type of hyena.

The spotted hyena’s body can grow up to 2m long, and they can be tall measuring between 25-30 cm long. In the spotted hyenas, the females are larger and heavier than males. Also, females are more dominant than males, which makes them opposite from a lion’s tribe. 

Spotted hyenas live in the south of the Sahara Desert. They are the largest predators in the Serengeti.

Striped Hyena

Striped hyenas have a negative reputation like other types of hyenas. They are ugly scavengers, and for some people, these hyenas are snarling monsters and a robber. People don’t like striped hyenas because of their scary faces and laughs, but these animals are useful that most people don’t know.

Striped hyenas are the smallest type of hyenas, and they are vastly different from their relatives. Hyenas are widespread in the Middle East, and they are mentioned in the bible. 

Myths said that these hyenas are grave robbers, but the truth is they are not. Why do people call them grave robbers? Because they steal the prey of other predators and they eat some dead people who died in the war. 

Striped hyenas indeed eat the bodies of people in the war but this was only during wartime when soldiers that have died have not been buried properly. In Turkey, they put stones at the top of the war graves to avoid hyenas from digging the bodies out and make it as a meal. 

Even though people tend to believe that striped hyenas feed on leftovers, they are usually great hunters and they hunt most of their food. Striped hyenas are adept hunters, and they love hunting large prey like deers. 

Brown Hyena

Brown hyenas have a length of 1.3 m which is 4.25 ft. They have a dark brown coat, a short muzzle, and pointed ears. Brown hyenas front legs are longer than their hind. They also have powerful jaws and many teeth like the other hyenas. 

Brown hyenas live in scrublands, savannahs, grasslands, and deserts in South Africa. They mainly hunt living prey such as mammals, fishes, birds, and insects. Also, they love eating fruits, vegetables, and eggs.


Aardwolves are not related to wolves, and they are related to hyenas even if their names have the wolf at the end. They have long, pointed ears, and long necks. Like any other hyenas, they have longer legs than their hind legs. Aardwolf means earth wolf.

Aardwolves like to eat termites. They cannot dig up to get prey because they don’t have claws. Like anteaters, they use their long tongues to dig their prey. Aardwolf can consume 200,000 plus termites in one night!

Aardwolves are territorial, and they are monogamous. They look like foxes because they are small, and their shapes look like a fox. Aardwolves live in shrublands of Eastern and Southern Africa. 

How Much Does Hyenas Cost?

If you have lots of patience for taming a hyena, then it will be good for you to get one. Otherwise, you might want to rethink again. Like I have said above, it takes time to make a hyena tamed, so you have to consider that before getting one.

However, if you have fully decided to get a hyena, then probably you want to know the price. The price of a hyena varies on its breed, age, and size. 

How much does a pet hyena cost? The price of one hyena puppy cost $900 to $8000. The price varies on its breed, age, and size. But that does not end there because there is more money you will burn for their maintenance. 

How much does a pet hyena cost annually? When you have a lot of money, then you are compatible to have a pet hyena. Why? Because you need an average of $15,000 per year to take care of your pet hyena. If you have enough money to maintain your pet hyena then don’t get one because they might get sick and die.

Can Hyenas Be Tamed?

Hyenas are known for being adept hunters and skillful predators. They love to hunt and to mess up with other predators by stealing their prey. Hyenas are ferocious and scary. However, hyenas can be a family dog or pet if they have been tamed.

Can hyenas be tamed? Yes! Hyenas can be tamed, and they can be a good pet for humans if they have been tamed! However, it will take a long time to make your pet hyena tamed. You need to have patience and understanding to make your pet hyena grow tamed and disciplined. 

Striped hyenas are easily trained, and they much faster to be tamed when young. They were used by Ancient Egyptians in the past and they were tamed for use in hunting. People that want to get a pet hyena should pick striped hyenas.

How Aggressive And Strong Is A Hyena?

Can Hyenas Be Pets?

Hyenas are so aggressive, which is not so surprising because they are adept hunters, so they need to be aggressive. Wild hyenas that have not been domesticated usually attack humans, especially children and women. Spotted hyenas are more dangerous than other types of hyenas. 

Hyena females are more aggressive and dominant than males. They are bigger and powerful three times than males. Female hyenas are more aggressive when after giving birth, and while they are raising their cubs as any other female animals do. That is why you don’t want to mess up with the cubs of a female hyena unless you want to get injured.

Hyenas are strong and skilled hunters that often hunt with groups. Their tremendous jaw strength is their asset to kill their prey. Hyenas have a bite force of 1,100 psi! Which is so powerful and dangerous! They can break a bone of a human and crush it into pieces.

That is why wild hyenas should not be around humans and other domesticated animals because they might bring danger. They can injure domesticated animals and humans effortlessly.

How To Legally Own A Hyena As A Pet In The United States?

If you are from the United States and you wanted to get a pet hyena, probably you search on google on how to legally own a hyena. That is why we are here to inform and help you to get your first pet hyena.

First, you must research if your state and city allow people to have a pet hyena. Some states permit people to have exotic pets like hyenas and require licensing. That is the first thing you need to do. You have to make sure that it is legal to have a pet hyena, or else you will get some charges and monetary fines.

However, you have to think first before getting one, and you need to have lots of money, lots of space for your hyenas, and lots of meat. Also, make sure that you get a baby hyena so that they can be easily trained. Lastly, you need to keep them away from your children if you have one because it can be dangerous. 

Usually, people who have owned land get a pet hyena. They build a cage around the open field and put the hyenas inside that wide cage. If you have insufficient space for your pet hyena, you have to disregard thinking of getting one. 

7 Other Facts About Hyenas

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Below are the interesting facts about hyenas:

Hyenas laugh have a deeper meaning

Most people think that a hyena’s laugh indicates happiness and fun. However, this myth should be abolished. 

Hyenas laugh to indicate their age and social status. They laugh to show anger and to tell other hyenas to stop messing with them. Hyenas’ laugh could be scary and weird, which makes people scared of hyenas. 

Hyenas are much smarter than chimpanzees

Yes, you read that correctly! Hyenas are much smarter than chimps. Chimpanzees are related to us humans, and we expect that they should be intelligent than hyenas, but the real deal is they don’t

The hyenas are smarter than chimps even though they act foolish and dumb. Spotted hyenas show different signs of intelligence. They are just not powerful, but they are also intelligent.

Female hyenas are the boss

Female spotted hyenas are big, powerful, and aggressive than male hyenas. They have three times more testosterone than males. The funny thing is, even the baby girl hyenas are the boss and can dominate male hyenas. 

Female spotted hyenas have bananas

Bananas mean penis just so you know. Female hyenas have a penis that is the elongated clitoris. Their penis can grow seven inches like the horses. Also, they greet each other by making their erect. 

Hyenas can count

Scientists have proven that hyenas can count because they can determine the number of hyenas from the other clan. They count the other clan’s hyenas to formulate a strategy to conquer the other clan. 

Hyenas have powerful jaws

Like I have said above, hyenas have powerful jaws, and they can destroy their prey’s bones into pieces. They are much stronger than Pitbull, and German Shepherds bite force.

Hyenas have a long lifespan

Hyenas belong to the canine group. They live longer than other canine groups that live 6-10 years only. Hyenas can live up to 10-15 years old. Spotted hyenas can live up to 20 years old in the wild. They are the longest living terrestrial predators.

Alternative Pets For Hyenas

People want to get a pet hyena to look cool or to escalate their social status. Some people want to get a pet hyena simply because they love animals. 

However, even though you badly want to have a pet hyena, most countries won’t allow you. But if your country permits people to have a pet hyena, but you are not sure of getting one, then probably you consider some alternatives. 

Below are the different alternatives for pet hyenas.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan mastiffs can grow up to 26 inches tall and weigh between 100 to 160 pounds or more if they are male. Female Tibetan mastiffs grow at least 24 inches and weigh 75 to 125 pounds or more. 

Tibetan mastiffs are powerful, and sometimes they are considered dangerous because of some occasionally reported attacks. However, overall, Tibetan mastiffs are good pets and good alternatives for pet hyenas because they are loyal and not too wild. 

Related Article: How Strong Is A Tibetan Mastiff?

German Shepherd

German shepherds can grow up to 25 inches in height, and they can weigh up to 95 pounds. They are a good alternative for hyenas because they are loyal, and they are good guard dogs. German shepherds are also big like hyenas, that is why they are the best for owners that like big dogs.

Related Article: How Much Weight Can German Shepherd Pull?


Pitbull can be dangerous because of their locking jaw system. However, they can be good pets if trained while young. Pitbull grows between 18 to 19 inches for males and 17 to 18 for females. 

Pitbull is also a good alternative for hyenas because they also look cool, and they are big enough to keep inside your house.


Foxes can be great pets also, and they can be a great alternative for a pet hyena. They have great personalities even though some people are scared of them because of what movies portray. Foxes are great pets, and they are fun to be with.


Male rottweilers typically grow up to 24 to 27 inches and weigh 95 to 130 pounds. Females grow up to 22 to 25 inches tall and weigh 85 to 115 pounds. 

Rottweilers are big dogs with powerful bite force. It can be cool if you have a rottweiler! Rottweilers are great alternatives for pet hyena because they are less dangerous and less wild. 

Final Verdict

Even though hyenas can be good pets, they still should be taken care of with cautiousness because even if they have been domesticated, they still have a hunter personality. Their hunter personality might turn on anytime if they feel threatened, and it could be very dangerous. 

Check your local area if they allow people to have a pet hyena to avoid charges and monetary fines. If your local area does not allow people to have a pet hyena, then you must obey the rules to avoid any troubles. 

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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