Crocuta crocuta photo © Kate Shaw Yoshida

Colour-coded cuteness to the maternal spotted hyena

File:Young spotted hyena, Serengeti, Tanzania.jpg

Crocuta crocuta photo © René Mayorga

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
File:Spotted Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) cub (13780114724).jpg
Crocuta crocuta photo © Bernard Dupont