Diet of Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) in a semi-arid protected area of Western India
Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), having the largest distribution and most diversein the socialorganisation among hyenids, remains the least studied. The availability of food is known widely as one of the key determining factors of socialorganization in animals. In the present study, the food habits of striped hyena were investigated by analysingthe scat samplescollected (n=303)during 2013-15 from thesemi-aridregion of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Western India. Totally, the prey remains belonged to23 specieswere identifiedfromhyenascats.It was found that the striped hyena had a catholic choice of dietwith greatreliance on large mammals (sambar, Rusaunicolor; chital, Axis axis;nilgai, Boselaphustragocamelus; wild pig, Susscrofa; and livestock; 56%) in the Indian semi-arid region. Rodents, birds, reptiles, hare and small carnivorescontributed 21.45% of the diet of striped hyena. Vegetative matter consisted primarily of grass and Zizyphusspseeds contributed 17.95% to the striped hyena diet.The scat analysis showed that the overall diversity of food items in striped hyena diet was 2.22 (Shannon-Winner Index, H). It was also found that 39 kills were belonged to 12 different prey species at the den sites (n=27). Striped hyenas were observed to predate on wild ungulate fawns/calves (48.72%) followed byground-dwelling birds (28.21%), small carnivores (7.69), primates (5.13%),reptiles (5.13%), Rufous-tailedhare (2.56%) and livestock (goat, 2.56%). The present study alsorevealed thatthoughthe hyenas are scavengers and primarily dependent on large mammals, theyalso actively predate on smaller prey species.
Feeding ecology, striped hyena, scatology, carnivore kill, semi-arid region