Can Hyenas Swim?: Discovering The Aquatic Side of Hyenas

How well do you know hyenas? Hyenas are famous for their laughter, but have you ever wondered: Can hyenas swim? These fascinating animals are known for their social structure and unusual vocalizations, but they also have amazing swimming talent.

Join me to explore this less-known part of hyenas and examine their swimming abilities.


5 Interesting Facts About Hyenas

Can Hyenas Swim?
A picture of Hyenas swimming
  1. Hyenas live in big groups called clans, and they really like hanging out together.
  2. Hyenas are super good at hunting, not just scavenging. They work together in packs to catch their dinner.
  3. Hyenas make all sorts of sounds, including that famous “laughter” noise, which is actually a way of talking to each other.
  4. In hyena society, the ladies rule the roost. The top female is like the boss and makes important decisions for the whole gang.
  5. Hyenas are not just strong; they’re marathon runners. They can cover really long distances when they’re out looking for food or chasing down prey.


Can Hyenas Swim?

Although hyenas are not often associated with water areas, they can swim. While it is not a skill they employ as regularly as their aquatic counterparts, hyenas can travel across shallow waters when necessary.

Their bodies are not built for long periods of swimming, but they can accomplish short distances, particularly when confronted with barriers like rivers or ponds on their migratory trips. While swimming is not their strong suit, hyenas are not wholly opposed to taking a dip if the situation calls for it.


Do Hyenas Like Water?

Hyenas may not particularly like water, but they’re not water-averse either. In the wild, hyenas can encounter water sources like rivers or ponds when they are going about their business and will go through it.

While they might not show a specific liking for water-related activities, they are known to wade through shallow waters without much hesitation. So, while it’s not their favorite thing, hyenas are relatively comfortable around water when the need arises.


Read also: Can Rats Swim?


How Far Can Hyenas Swim?

Hyenas are not renowned for their swimming abilities, so they can only manage short distances in water. Their bodies are not adapted for prolonged swimming, but they can navigate through water when necessary.

In the wild, hyenas might swim across small bodies of water, such as rivers or streams, especially when pursuing prey.  However, their swimming capacity is poor compared to animals more specialized for aquatic environments. It’s more of a survival skill than a preferred mode of travel for these terrestrial animals.


How Fast Can a Hyena Swim?

Hyenas are not known for their speed in the water. Their bodies are more suited for running and covering ground on land rather than swift movements in aquatic environments. Swimming is more of a survival skill than a preferred mode of travel for hyenas.


Read also: Do Lions Eat Hyenas?


Can A Hyena Be a Pet?

Despite their intriguing behaviors, hyenas are wild animals and not suitable as pets. They have specific dietary, environmental, and social needs that are challenging to meet in a domestic setting and are not suitable for living in close proximity to humans.

Keeping a hyena as a pet is not only impractical but also poses risks to both the animal and humans because hyenas are powerful predators with strong jaws and sharp teeth, posing a significant risk to human safety.

In many places, it’s illegal to keep hyenas as pets due to the dangers they present and the importance of conservation efforts for wild animal populations. Wild animals, including hyenas, belong in their natural habitats where they can fulfill their ecological roles and exhibit natural behaviors not with humans.


Do Hyenas Eat One Another?

While hyenas eating each other is uncommon, it can happen, especially in times of great stress or food scarcity. Hyenas are opportunistic carnivores that eat carcasses as part of their diet.

However, in normal conditions, they are more likely to collaborate in hunting and scavenging for external food sources rather than resorting to eating each other.

it is important to emphasize that cannibalistic behavior in hyenas is neither common or usual, and it is more likely in extreme circumstances where resources are short.


Can a Hyena Jump?

Yes, hyenas can perform impressive leaps. While they are not known for their jumping abilities as some other animals, they do have powerful and nimble bodies.

Hyenas can use their jumping abilities to navigate their environments, pursue prey, and even establish authority within their social systems. They may not reach the heights of some other species, but hyenas are undoubtedly capable of remarkable jumps as part of their athletic ability.


Can Hyenas Climb Trees?

Hyenas aren’t known for their ability to climb trees. Unlike some other predators, such as leopards, hyenas are predominantly land animals with a body shape that does not allow them to climb. Their limbs are better suited for running and covering ground than climbing trees.

While hyenas may be seen from elevated vantage points such as rocks or termite mounds, they are not natural climbers like other members of the animal kingdom. Their behaviors and adaptations are more suited to life on the ground, where they demonstrate extraordinary endurance and agility in seeking prey and navigating their varied habitats.


Read also: Does Lion Swim?


Can Hyenas Withstand Extreme Conditions?

Yes, hyenas can adapt to a wide range of environmental situations, including harsh ones. They are noted for their capacity to grow in a variety of settings, including savannahs, grasslands, and desert regions. Some key aspects of their adaptability include:

  • Temperature Regulation
    Hyenas have complex systems for controlling their body temperature. They can endure high temperatures in dry settings as well as lower temperatures in temperate climates.
  • Water Conservation
    While not entirely reliant on water supplies, hyenas have developed methods of conserving water, allowing them to survive periods of scarcity. They can get moisture from their diet, so they don’t need to drink as much.
  • Dietary Flexibility
    Hyenas are omnivorous carnivores with a varied diet. They are able to adapt to variations in prey availability and scavenging possibilities, helping them to thrive in a variety of habitats.
  • Social Structure
    Living in clans provides hyenas with a social framework that helps them survive in harsh situations. Cooperative hunting and resource sharing throughout the clan improve their ability to survive adversity.
  • Nomadic Lifestyle
    Hyenas are known for their nomadic lifestyle, allowing them to cover large distances in search of food and suitable habitats. This mobility enables them to navigate changing environmental conditions.



In our exploration of the fascinating world of hyenas, we discovered some interesting facts regarding their relationship with water. Hyenas demonstrate adaptation beyond their land-dwelling reputation, from their social dynamics to their unexpected ability to swim.

These species, while not aquatic experts, can navigate water when necessary. And, whether it’s their ability to jump or their ability to tolerate severe environments, hyenas continue to captivate us with their creativity.

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