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Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Current distribution (from Honer et al. 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Africa, south of the Sahara
  • Native countries
    • Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissaw, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
    • No confirmed evidence of occurrence in Egypt, Liberia or Lesotho
  • Possible regional extinctions
    • Algeria, Eritrea, and Togo
  • Patchy distribution within this range
    • Especially patchy in West Africa
    • Often concentrated near protected areas
  • More continuous in some southern and central African countries
    • Chad, Central African Republic, southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, and portions of South Africa

Historical distribution

  • Previously found across most of Africa and Eurasia (Werdelin and Solounias 1991)


Habitat generalists (from Honer et al. 2008)

  • Found in a variety of habitats
    • Semi-desert, savanna and open woodland, dense dry woodland, and montane habitats
  • Absent, or at low density, in extreme desert and tropical rainforest habitat
    • Logging roads provide access to forested areas which otherwise would not be inhabited

Altitudinal range

  • 0-4,100 m (0-13,450 ft) (Honer et al. 2008)

Live near human habitations (Honer et al. 2008)

Distribution Map

Spotted hyena distribution map

Spotted hyena distribution. Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN)

Page Citations

Honer et al. (2008)
Werdelin and Solounias (1991)

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