17 October 2022
Recording of the week: Laughing hyaenas
This week’s post comes from Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife and Environmental Sounds Curator.
Above: Photo of a Spotted Hyaena by DJM Photos. From Flickr.
Although it may sound like it, the Spotted Hyaenas in this recording are not suffering from a fit of the giggles. Their laughter-like calls actually express feelings of frustration, excitement or fear rather than amusement. These sounds are usually produced by individuals during encounters with dominant members of the clan, when facing a potential predator, or when they want something they can’t have, such as access to a recent kill. Despite the scientific explanation, it’s difficult not to imagine them sharing an inside joke though.
This recording was made by Nigel Tucker at Imire Safari Ranch, Zimbabwe in April 1999 (British Library ref W1CDR0001982 BD25). It forms part of a larger collection of recordings made in the area which includes the sounds of other well-known African mammals such as lions, elephants, rhinos, wildebeest and antelopes.