What Hyena Giggles Really Say
Spotted hyenas may be the chattiest carnivores on the planet. They whoop, rumble, low, and laugh, announcing their presence wherever they go. But what do all these calls mean?
Zoologist Kay Holekamp laid out the spotted hyena repertoire in a 2011 New York Times field journala 2011 New York Times field journala 2011 New York Times field journal. So far as we humans are able to understand, each category of call carries a general meaning that can be modulated by the sender to varying effect. Spotted hyenas low when they want to team up, “alarm rumble” to raise a red flag to approaching danger, and groan to greet cubs at a den, who then “squitter”