ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian bestiary: Hyaenas
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Fattening hyaenas, tomb of Mereruka- Fattening hyaenas, Tomb of Mereruka, Old Kingdom
Two species of hyaenas live in Egypt, the Striped Hyaena or Barbary Hyaena, hyaena hyaena, and the smaller Aardwolf. They are nocturnal animals, spending the day in burrows. The Striped Hyaena is omnivorous, a predator of small mammals and any other animal it can catch, well adapted to the arid conditions into which they have been driven by man. The Aardwolf prefers eating termites, but makes do on occasion with other insects, eggs, carrion, and small mammals.[2]
    The ancient Egyptians tried to domesticate many animals, the hyaena (HT.t) among them. During the Old Kingdom attempts were made to fatten hyaenas,[1] which were probably quickly abandoned given the ferocious nature of the beasts.
[1] Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Grabinschriften => Sakkara => nördlich der Stufenpyramide => Grab des Tjy => Portico => Südwand => östlicher Teil => 3. Register v.u. => Szenenbeischrift (links unten)
[2] Richard Hoath, A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt, American Univ in Cairo Press, 2009, pp.92ff.

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October 2009