(Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 

BY GINA COOK

ANCHOR NATHAN BYRNE


It appears some spotted Hyenas in Ethiopia are observing Lent.  No — the hyenas aren’t expressing their religious beliefs, but a study shows they adjust their diets to find the protein they can no longer get from trash cans.  Science Daily explains:

“In Ethiopia, members of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church stop eating meat and dairy products during a 55-day fast before Easter. As a result, spotted hyenas too change their eating habits -- from scavenging waste from butchers and households to hunting.”

The study in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Animal Ecology says the hyenas quickly switched to hunting donkeys. The Daily Mail quotes the scientist who conducted the study who says,


“‘Hyenas can eat almost any organic matter, even putrid carrion and anthrax-infected carcasses. They are capable of eating and digesting all parts of their prey except hair and hooves. Bones are digested so completely that only the inorganic components are excreted in the hyena's droppings...”

And because of this - Live Science says they will kill just about anything.

“Spotted hyenas are adept hunters, capable of bringing down prey such as zebras, wildebeests and even young rhinoceroses. But these pack hunters are also adaptable: They scavenge freely, devouring everything from dead birds and mammals to garbage and dung.”

Mmm—Yummy.  Oddly enough dung is exactly how researchers found the hyenas’ change in diet.  They took samples of droppings during the time of Lent, which showed an increase in donkey hair.  The samples taken 55 days after Lent showed a significant decrease.

Do Hyenas Observe Lent?

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Apr 6, 2012

Do Hyenas Observe Lent?

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 

BY GINA COOK

ANCHOR NATHAN BYRNE


It appears some spotted Hyenas in Ethiopia are observing Lent.  No — the hyenas aren’t expressing their religious beliefs, but a study shows they adjust their diets to find the protein they can no longer get from trash cans.  Science Daily explains:

“In Ethiopia, members of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church stop eating meat and dairy products during a 55-day fast before Easter. As a result, spotted hyenas too change their eating habits -- from scavenging waste from butchers and households to hunting.”

The study in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Animal Ecology says the hyenas quickly switched to hunting donkeys. The Daily Mail quotes the scientist who conducted the study who says,


“‘Hyenas can eat almost any organic matter, even putrid carrion and anthrax-infected carcasses. They are capable of eating and digesting all parts of their prey except hair and hooves. Bones are digested so completely that only the inorganic components are excreted in the hyena's droppings...”

And because of this - Live Science says they will kill just about anything.

“Spotted hyenas are adept hunters, capable of bringing down prey such as zebras, wildebeests and even young rhinoceroses. But these pack hunters are also adaptable: They scavenge freely, devouring everything from dead birds and mammals to garbage and dung.”

Mmm—Yummy.  Oddly enough dung is exactly how researchers found the hyenas’ change in diet.  They took samples of droppings during the time of Lent, which showed an increase in donkey hair.  The samples taken 55 days after Lent showed a significant decrease.

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