I went with the family to the Tbilisi zoo a few weeks ago, and there was a pair of spotted hyenas (and a sleeping striped one - if only there had been a brown one and an aardwolf- the hyenedae would have been full represented). In honor of my recently released book, (Gift of the Bouda) I posted it here.
My first experience with a Hyena, close up, was at the hyena colony at UC Berkeley, after a conference at which I presented a paper.
Up close they were much more impressive than the skulky scavengers of animal planet or the cartoon buffoons on the Lion King.
The image of the heavy, not quite dog-like carnivore crunching through a horse femur on the other side of a chain-link barrier, stayed with me until I put it down in my short story, gift of the Bouda (and book).