Crocuta crocuta photo © Tom Harkins

Mammary bounty reveals maternal failure in spotted hyena

It is easy to assume that those individuals of the spotted hyena photographed with an obvious udder are particularly successful mothers. In fact the opposite is true. It is only an inferior individual in the female hierarchy, returning from a perilous foraging expedition far from the communal den, that will have a full udder.  Such forays last up to five days during which offspring left at the den suffer growth-lags and risk starvation.

Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016