Valentine’s Day: Depressed? Well you’ll never be as gutted as the male hyena today…

Surely there’s no single day in our calendar that is capable of conjuring up such opposite ends of our delicate human emotional spectrum than today.

However the reality can be extremely harsh and at some point in our lives we’ve definitely all been there.

Traipsing through darkened empty streets dragging our desperate single heels past seemingly never-ending posh candle-lit restaurants, their windows braggingly glowing with smug softly-lit couples, and all proving that romance definitely isn’t dead. Well for one night anyway.

But there really is one extraordinary animal out there that really does have a good enough reason to wallow in his own self-pity…

Thousands of miles away on the arid plains of Africa the male Spotted Hyena (pictured) will have to endure yet another annual sprinkling of salt onto his giant year-round wound.

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For in this day-and-age it’s simply not enough to have already been crowned with the title ‘Most Dominant Scavenger in The Old World’, or own a stomach that contains enough acid to easily dissolve any bone that’s dipped in it. Or even fashionably sport a Mohican that took 26 million years of evolution to successfully style into a cool and rebellious ‘reversed-forwards’ look.

For what really gets our male Spotted Hyena down is the fact that his female counterpart – Mrs Spotted Hyena to you and me – has bigger ‘bits’ than he does.

And when I say ‘bits’ I really do mean ‘bits’; so much so that until fairly recently females were actually thought to be hermaphrodites.

Female hyenas must even give birth and urinate through this unique protruding genital which must also stretch to accommodate the male during their sexy-times together.

Its anatomical position also gives females complete control over which males are allowed to mate with her, which – coupled with the fact that the females are significantly larger than the males – makes them the totally dominant sex within their highly intellectual and noisy social packs.

And what’s more, to make matters even worse for Mr Hyena, females also possess pair of fake testicles which are filled with fatty tissue!

So imagine the surprise of the first 19th Century explorers of Africa when they witnessed their caged ‘male’ hyenas actually giving birth in front of their rather confused eyes!

So tonight, if it all seems to be getting a bit too much, please spare a thought for our lonely male Spotted Hyena, home alone and chomping on his zebra-flavoured meal-for-one and packet of warthog crisps; it’s a wonder he’s still got anything to laugh about.

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