HYENA (Heb. צָבוֹעַ), mammal. The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena (striata) is found in Israel, the spotted species inhabiting Africa. One of the largest carnivores in Israel, its body length averages 109 cm and its average weight is 70 lbs (32 kg.), but large males can reach a weight of 90 lbs. (40 kg.). The males are slightly larger than the females. In the Bible the word occurs only as a place-name, "the valley of Seboim" (i.e., of the hyenas; I Sam. 13:18), apparently the Mount Ẓevoyim of the Mishnah (Ḥal. 4:10) in the Wadi el-Kelt region east of Jerusalem. Incapable of running swiftly, the hyena usually feeds on carcasses, and only occasionally attacks a straying lamb. In its search for food it can roam long distances. Hyenas maintain a permanent living area of a few dozen square kilometers. In the Tosefta (BK 1:4) the hyena is included among the carnivorous animals, the male hyena being, it is stated, "sometimes as fierce as a lion" (ibid., 16a; TJ ibid., 1:5, 2c). In the Talmud it was said that the male hyena becomes a female (TJ, Shab. 1:3). In the folklore of the Bedouin, the hyena is said to be an animal dangerous also to man, whom it lures by its hypnotic laugh to its lair. This legend has its origin in the hyena's strange appearance, its stiffening crest, and especially its howl, which resembles an alternating laugh and wail. However, there is no evidence of hyena attacks on people in Israel. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Bodenheimer, Ha-Ḥai be-Ereẓ Israel (1953), 240. (Jehuda Feliks / Gideon Biger (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Hyena — Hy*e na, n.; pl. {Hyenas}. [L. hyaena, Gr. ?, orig., a sow, but usually, a Libyan wild beast, prob., the hyena, fr. ? hog: cf. F. hy[ e]ne. See {Sow} female hog.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any carnivorous mammal of the family {Hy[ae]nid[ae]}, doglike nocturnal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hyena — (also hyaena) ► NOUN ▪ a doglike carnivorous African mammal with long forelimbs and an erect mane. ORIGIN Greek huaina female pig (probably because of the resemblance of the hyena s mane to a hog s bristles) …   English terms dictionary

  • hyena — [hī ē′nə] n. [L hyaena < Gr hyaina, hyena, lit., sow (so called from its hoglike mane) < hys, a hog (+ aina, fem. suffix) < IE base * sū , hog > SWINE] any of various wolflike carnivores (family Hyaenidae) of Africa and Asia, with… …   English World dictionary

  • hyena — mid 14c., from O.Fr. hiene, from L. hyaena, from Gk. hyaina swine (fem.), from hys pig + fem. suffix aina. So called for its bristles. Applied to cruel, treacherous, and greedy persons since at least 1670s. Adjectival forms that have been… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hyena — is spelt e , not (as formerly) ae , and has the plural form hyenas …   Modern English usage

  • Hyena — This article is about the family of animals. For other uses, see Hyena (disambiguation). Hyenas Temporal range: 26–0 Ma …   Wikipedia

  • hyena — hyenic, hyenine /huy ee nuyn, nin/, adj. /huy ee neuh/, n. a doglike carnivore of the family Hyaenidae, of Africa, southwestern Asia, and south central Asia, having a coarse coat, a sloping back, and large teeth and feeding chiefly on carrion,… …   Universalium

  • hyena — /haɪˈinə / (say huy eenuh) noun 1. any of three mainly nocturnal carnivores of the family Hyaenidae, having massive jaws for crushing bones, as the striped hyena, Hyaena hyaena, of Africa and Asia, a solitary scavenger, the brown hyena, H.… …  

  • hyena — n. 1) a brown; laughing; spotted; striped hyena 2) a clan, pack of hyenas * * * [haɪ iːnə] laughing pack of hyenas spotted striped hyena a brown a clan …   Combinatory dictionary

  • hyena — UK [haɪˈiːnə] / US [haɪˈɪnə] noun [countable] Word forms hyena : singular hyena plural hyenas a wild animal similar to a dog that lives mainly in Africa and makes a noise that sounds like laughing …   English dictionary

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