Hyena Laughs


Some days at the zoo remind me that despite the fact that it’s hot and dirty and exhausting, it’s absolutely worth it. Today was one of those days.

One of the exhibits in the area where I volunteer is shared by spotted hyenas and Hamadryas baboons. They are not on exhibit at the same time; the baboons are out during the day and then the hyenas, being nocturnal, go out in the afternoon and are out overnight. I like to do a lot of enrichment with the animals, which is designed to stimulate them mentally and give them opportunity to use their natural behaviors in a captive setting, and we do a lot with the baboons. As primates with fairly large brains (especially for monkeys– they are not apes), they need a lot to keep them occupied. Since I’m there during the day, I don’t often get to do much with the hyenas. Today, though, I stayed late because the staff was short and the keeper needed help with the evening routine… and this is what we got to do:

Can you see the boxes? The boxes are scattered around the exhibit and have meat chunks in them– treats for the hyenas, and toys that can be carried around, shredded, or flattened into beds. Or, for the fun of it, a head fits inside nicely…

It was so much fun to watch them get to explore and play with the boxes, but also to figure out how to get the more difficultly placed ones. See the problem solving?

And then, success!

It was such a great way to spend the afternoon. And I wonder if I get more out of this or if the animals do. ^_^ Either way, we all win.


[note] This entry was from yesterday, 8/4, but my computer had a mild freak-out and didn’t let me post it until today. So I haven’t quite missed a day yet. Enjoy!

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