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Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

Posted on Jul 3, 2007 by in Carnivores | 0 comments

Crocuta crocuta
Number 0031

Thank goodness for A.F. Gotch, author of the aforementioned Mammals—Their Latin Names Explained! I chose to draw the spotted hyena simply because I hadn’t yet drawn anybody with spots, but Mr. Gotch* sweetened the deal by illuminating this mammal’s intriguing Latin name, Crocuta crocuta. It comes from the word crocus (a word I love in English), which in turn comes from the Greek krokotos, or saffron-colored. Isn’t that lovely? (And wouldn’t Crocuta crocuta also make a nice Latin name for a saffron-colored frog?)

Another interesting thing about the spotted hyena is chronicled here, on Animal Diversity Web. In the physical description section, the passage about the females being “extremely masculinated” is rather fascinating. The Animal Diversity Web write-up also informs us that hyenas are not as sought after for hunting trophies as some of their fellow African carnivores because they’re just not considered good looking!

* A “retired schoolmaster”! And goodness, “in addition he is one of the few people to have made a complete circumnavigation of the English inland waterways in a canal boat, a cruise of some 900 miles”!

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