Edgy hyenas

Gee, there really is something going on between the Sofi and Aboker hyenas. At the feeding place, the Sofi hyenas are doing a lot of social sniffing – going around in groups of three or four abreast, sniffing and scratching at the ground. And they’re so edgy. They keep hearing noises, and as one they turn and face the direction from where the noises are coming. And they keep staring in the direction of the clan boundary as if at any minute, the Aboker hyenas will appear at the top of the hill. If it happens I wonder if they’ll defend their territory or if they’ll turn tail and run, like the other night.

I’ve been on edge too. Watching these hyenas and how they constantly look towards the clan boundary, I can’t sit still. I’ve been making forays up the road to the boundary where I stand and wait for the appearance of the Aboker hyenas. I keep expecting to see the silhouettes of six or seven hyenas coming over the hill. But since the invasion a few nights ago, there’s been only one incident.  That was last night when I shone my flashlight up the road and saw a pair of glowing eyes halfway down the hill. I’d been monitoring the comings and goings of the Sofi hyenas all night so I was pretty certain that this was a stranger, and he was making his way down towards the Sofi hyenas.

By the time this guy was within 60 metres of the feeding place, he dropped down into the drainage ditch that runs parallel to the road and there he sat while Koti and a couple of other hyenas approached him with aggressive postures. The stranger popped his head up from the ditch, grimacing and making all sorts of appeasement gestures, looking like a profoundly submissive hand-puppet. Meanwhile, the massive Koti loomed over him, lowing and growling. After satisfying herself that his intentions were of a sexual rather than warlike nature (male hyenas cross territorial boundaries to seek mates), Koti left him to himself. The stranger went over to a place beside the dumpsters and lay down, and that was it.

Isn’t it fascinating that this kind of border crossing can happen in the middle of such a tense time? I would have thought that the edgy Sofi hyenas would have reacted violently to any of the Aboker hyenas transgressing territorial bounds especially after the raid of the other night. But while diplomatic relations might have been severed, everyday life is obviously continuing and the comings and goings of males in search of love will transcend the female imperative to fight a war.




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