Bone-sharing And ‘eparate Rooms’ Help Hyenas, Porcupines, Warthogs Use Same Den


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Nov 11, 2014
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On paper they’re the unlikeliest of bedfellows. Spotted hyenas are known to jump at the chance to crunch a porcupine or warthog, both herbivores who don’t stand a chance against the formidable predators. So how come they can share a home?

Researchers working in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya say they’ve found evidence all three mammals used the same den in two sites in a three-year period – and quite possibly the hyenas involved didn’t eat up their bedfellows once they were all outside.
“We’ve been monitoring hyena dens for a long time, but we hadn’t seen this before,” said Marc Dupuis-Désormeaux, a conservation biologist from York University in Toronto, who is the lead author of the study published in the African Journal of Ecology.

A number of factors may have facilitated this unlikely cohabitation: a shared fridge, different bed-chambers and, crucially, the fact that at such close quarters the hyenas were no longer able to deploy their greatest hunting weapon – stealth.

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Crazy to imagine a hyena dragging a bone back to its den and then the same hyena allowing a porcupine to gnaw on it. Meanwhile the wart hogs are snoring in the room next door.....

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