Hype over Hyenas

Did you know that Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has a Spotted Hyena?! His name is Rambo and he currently resides […]

Did you know that Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has a Spotted Hyena?! His name is Rambo and he currently resides down at rescue ridge.


We rescued Rambo early March of 2021 and at the time of his rescue, he was 10 years old. There was a family who had him in south Arkansas as a pet. When the father of the family suddenly had a tragic death, the wife couldn’t care for Rambo by herself. That’s when she called TCWR to rescue him. Being a Spotted Hyena, he is going to need heat since he is an African animal. After his arrival here at TCWR, we didn’t have an open heated den around the tour road or in the upper part of the refuge so we put him in an open habitat down at Rescue Ridge. These habitats all have heated dens that way any animal can go down there and live comfortably.

Spotted Hyenas

These odd looking creatures may look like a dog, but when it comes down to a spotted hyena, they are more closely related to cats, their closest relative being a meerkat or mongoose. Unlike a cat however, a spotted hyena has claws that are not retractable!

Spotted Hyenas have a very different hierarchy when it comes to who rules over the clan. Females are in charge when it comes to this species and they are much larger than the males. With them in charge, they are the first to do anything while the males have to wait. Even the lowest ranking female’s cubs will rank higher than the highest ranking male! Those males who don’t get the privilege of being the largest and the highest ranking, they are forced to stay on the outskirts of the clan. They then can only join the clan during a hunt or a fight against lions or other hyenas.

For centuries, hyenas have been seen as the villain in movies and are extremely misrepresented as foolish and evil. This reputation has become no laughing matter. This species is extremely intelligent, resourceful, and efficient. To learn more about just intelligent, they are feel free to read one of our articles, “What? That’s Not a Cat!” that goes into further explanation!


Currently, spotted hyenas are not identified as severely threatened. However, things can easily change. The conflict happening between humans and hyenas is slowly getting worse. With deforestation hyenas and people have moved into closer proximity to each other. Soon livestock starts disappearing and farmers will shoot, poison, or trap a hyena, even when they are in protected areas. People dislike hyenas so much they use them as target practice. This is why education is a must! Help us teach others that this carnivore has a bad reputation, but are really useful and great creatures!




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