Two top predators combine forces

Researchers discover that wolves and hyenas profit in harsh desert conditions by working together. 

A striped hyena has been seen with a wolf pack in Israel. © pum_eva/iStock
A striped hyena has been seen with a wolf pack in Israel. © pum_eva/iStock

Grey wolves are pack animals, while striped hyenas are solitary hunters. But when needs must, these two top predators combine forces, according to new research.

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Eyebrows were first raised when hyena tracks were found among those of grey wolves in Israel’s Negev Desert, and suspicions were confirmed when a hyena was spotted travelling with a pack of wolves nearby.

Of course, it might be a case of aberrant behaviour by a single hyena, though that raises the question of why the wolves tolerate its presence. Rather, the biologists suspect that both parties profit in the harsh desert conditions.

“The hyenas could benefit from the wolves’ superior ability to hunt large, agile prey,” they write.

“The wolves could benefit from the hyenas’ superior sense of smell and their ability to break large bones, to locate and dig out fossorial [digging] animals such as tortoises, and to tear open discarded food containers such as tin cans.”

Source Zoology in the Middle East

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