Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Cute Side of Hyenas

Hyenas often get a bum rap in the media. Jean M. Auel first introduced them to me as evil, horrible critters in “Clan of the Cave Bear” and I’ve never looked back since. DikDik, in an attempt to clear this maligned creature’s name, insisted that these misunderstood animals, while good scavengers, were also great hunters in their own right. But what really changed our minds were the cubs.

I realize that all babies are adorable and cute but when you’re faced with the sheer cuddle-ability of an animal you’ve been taught to hate… Well, it all gets just a little confusing. We saw several hyena cubs during our trip and always made our driver stop so that we could “oohh and aww” over their cuteness.

As we were watching one particularly sweet group of napping hyena cubs (complete with adult babysitter) one raised its head to look at us and just flopped right back down again as if to say, “I’m too tired to pose today. Go away!” There was also the cub we saw gnawing on a bone and looking very possessive whenever any of its siblings came close.

Even if I haven’t changed your mind about Ayla’s least favourite animal, I know that you share my newfound love of adorable cubs and their incredibly human expressions and ways. And if you don’t… just stay tuned for even more beautiful animals in the days to come.

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