Animal Kingdom Smackdown: Wolf V. Hyena

Animal Kingdom Smackdown Week Four: Wolf V. Hyena

Animal Kingdom Smackdown Week Four: Wolf V. Hyena

Jackson M. Meade

Man’s best friend has come a long way from what it once was. From a pack-hunting powerhouse to a common lap dog, the species in canidae has come a long way. However, what is the true strength of the predecessors to dogs? How powerful is a wolf and how would it fare in battle? 


In order to test this, we will be placing it in battle against another powerful species: the hyena. Known as scavengers and perceived as evil by many, the hyena would be the perfect test of the wolf’s true strength. Choosing the largest and most powerful of each species, a male alaskan timber wolf will be battling a female spotted hyena.


First, the alaskan timber wolf stands at around 3 feet tall and weighs around 175 pounds. Wolves can sprint at speeds up to 38 mph in short distances and can maintain a trotting speed of around 6 mph. Wolves have adapted a long skull with many muscles and muscle attachments around the jaw, allowing for a bite that delivers around 400 pounds per square inch of force. 


These wolves, like all wolf species, live in packs of around 6 to 10 individuals, providing them with protection and advantages in hunting. Wolves are very reliant on their packs, providing them with the means necessary to survive as most wolves need other wolves in order to hunt successfully. Within these packs, the loss of just a single wolf can cause irreversible damage to the social structure and hunting strategy of the wolf’s pack. 


The greatest advantage of this wolf species is the heavy winter coat that they can possess.These coats can be almost 2.5 inches thick, protecting the wearer from low temperatures and some attacks. The greatest weakness of the wolf is its large dependence on a pack for survival. While wolves can survive on their own for some time, a wolf truly needs a pack in order to have prolonged success in hunting and protection.


The spotted hyena is the largest hyena species in the world, standing at around 3 feet tall, weighing around 140 pounds, and having a top speed of around 37 mph. Their fur is only around .8 inches thick, yet what they lack in defense they make up for in offense, with a bite force of around 1100 pounds per square inch. Hyenas are a unique species in that the females are larger and thus are in charge of the hyena packs. Hyena packs, known as a cackle, is a matriarchal system where the largest female hyena is the alpha. Hyenas are not closely related to dogs, and are actually more closely related to mongooses. 


Hyenas are mostly scavengers but will hunt in packs with fellow hyenas to take down large prey. When after smaller prey, hyenas will hunt alone in a more ambush-like manner. The greatest advantage of the hyena is its bone crushing bite force, allowing it to tear through an opponent with ease. Hyenas are even able to digest the bone matter of other creatures, allowing it to gain strength off of these heavy attacks. The greatest disadvantage of a hyena is its weak hunting habits, having little hunting experience and rarely hunting anything alone when it does hunt.