Colour-coded cuteness to the maternal spotted hyena 



Crocuta crocuta photo © Kate Shaw Yoshida

Young spotted hyena Serengeti Tanzania

Crocuta crocuta photo © René Mayorga  


Crocuta crocuta photo © Arno Meintjes



Colour-changes with age in the spotted hyena exceed those in other carnivores, providing extreme stimulus to the mother to nurture and defend her offspring. This can be explained by the peculiar combination of selfishness and gregariousness in the aristocratic society of this species: the female shows no maternal instinct towards juveniles other than her own, but must promote and defend her own offspring to ensure that it shares her rank. 
Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016
Crocuta crocuta photo © E.J. Peiker
Crocuta crocuta photo © Bernard Dupont