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Hyena vs. Jackal: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on January 3, 2024
Hyenas are large, carnivorous mammals known for their powerful jaws and vocalizations, while jackals are smaller, omnivorous canids with a reputation for cunning and adaptability.

Key Differences

Hyenas, belonging to the family Hyaenidae, are known for their robust build and strong jaws, suited for scavenging and hunting. Jackals, on the other hand, are smaller members of the Canidae family and are more adaptable in terms of habitat and diet. Both hyenas and jackals play significant roles in their ecosystems as predators and scavengers.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 03, 2024
The social structure of hyenas, particularly spotted hyenas, is complex and matriarchal, with females being larger and dominant. Jackals typically form monogamous pairs and are less socially structured. Both species are known for their intelligence and ability to survive in harsh environments.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024
Hyenas are often misrepresented as cowardly scavengers, but they are effective hunters. Jackals, with their opportunistic feeding habits, often feed on small mammals, birds, and even fruits. Both animals are integral to maintaining the ecological balance, controlling populations of various species.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024
In terms of vocalization, hyenas are famous for their laughs and whoops, which serve as communication within their clans. Jackals are known for their piercing howls, especially at dawn and dusk. These vocalizations in both hyenas and jackals play a vital role in territorial and social interactions.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024
Hyenas are found in parts of Africa and Asia and have a more limited range compared to jackals, which are widespread across Africa, Asia, and parts of southeastern Europe. Both hyenas and jackals have adapted to various environments, from savannas to woodlands, highlighting their resilience and adaptability.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Family

Hyaenidae
Canidae
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

Size and Build

Larger, more robust build
Smaller, slender build
Sumera Saeed
Jan 03, 2024

Diet

Carnivorous, scavenging and hunting
Omnivorous, including small animals and fruits
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

Social Structure

Matriarchal, in clans
Often monogamous pairs
Aimie Carlson
Jan 03, 2024

Habitat Range

Mainly Africa and parts of Asia
Africa, Asia, southeastern Europe
Janet White
Jan 03, 2024
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Hyena and Jackal Definitions

Hyena

A carnivorous mammal known for its strong jaws and distinctive vocalizations.
The hyena's laugh echoed through the savanna.
Janet White
Dec 21, 2023

Jackal

A small to medium-sized omnivorous member of the canine family.
The jackal roamed the savanna in search of food.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 21, 2023

Hyena

An animal with a robust build and spotted or striped fur.
The spotted hyena is the most social of its species.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 21, 2023

Jackal

An animal that forms monogamous pairs and has a varied diet.
Jackals often hunt in pairs, coordinating their efforts.
Janet White
Dec 21, 2023

Hyena

An animal with a complex social structure, particularly in clans.
The hyena clan was led by a dominant female.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 21, 2023

Jackal

An adaptable canid known for its cunning and resourcefulness.
The jackal cleverly scavenged what the predators left behind.
Janet White
Dec 21, 2023

Hyena

A creature often misrepresented in folklore, but is a skilled hunter.
Contrary to popular belief, hyenas hunt more often than they scavenge.
Sara Rehman
Dec 21, 2023

Jackal

A creature with a distinctive howl, often heard at dawn and dusk.
Their haunting howls at night revealed the presence of jackals.
Harlon Moss
Dec 21, 2023

Hyena

A member of the Hyaenidae family, often associated with scavenging.
Hyenas are often seen cleaning up after lion kills.
Harlon Moss
Dec 21, 2023

Jackal

A species with a wider habitat range, from Africa to Southeastern Europe.
Jackals have adapted to a range of environments, from deserts to woodlands.
Janet White
Dec 21, 2023

Hyena

Any of several carnivorous mammals of the family Hyaenidae of Africa and Asia, which feed as scavengers and have powerful jaws, relatively short hind limbs, and coarse hair.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

Any of several mammals of the genus Canis of Africa, Asia, and southeast Europe, that are chiefly foragers feeding on plants, small animals, and occasionally carrion.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Hyena

Any of the medium-sized to large feliform carnivores of the subfamily Hyaenidae, native to Africa and Asia and noted for the sound similar to laughter which they can make if excited.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

One who seeks to gain advantage or profit from the difficulties of another.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Hyena

(Sub-Saharan Africa) A man that performs ritualized sex acts with recently widowed women and menarchal girls.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

One who performs menial tasks for another.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Hyena

Any carnivorous mammal of the family Hyænidæ, doglike nocturnal mammals of Africa and southern Asia, of which three living species are known. They are large and strong, but cowardly. They feed chiefly on carrion, and are nocturnal in their habits.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

Any of certain wild canids of the genus Canis, native to the tropical Old World and smaller than a wolf.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Hyena

Doglike nocturnal mammal of Africa and southern Asia that feeds chiefly on carrion
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

A person who performs menial/routine tasks, a dogsbody.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

(derogatory) A person who behaves in an opportunistic way; especially a base collaborator.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

A jack (the playing card).
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

(rugby union) a player who steals the ball at the tackle
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

To perform menial or routine tasks
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

Any one of several species of carnivorous animals inhabiting Africa and Asia, related to the dog and wolf. They are cowardly, nocturnal, and gregarious. They feed largely on carrion, and are noted for their piercing and dismal howling.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

One who does mean work for another's advantage, as jackals were once thought to kill game which lions appropriated.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Jackal

Old World nocturnal canine mammal closely related to the dog; smaller than a wolf; sometimes hunts in a pack but usually singly or as a member of a pair
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

FAQs

What are hyenas known for?

Hyenas are known for their strong jaws and vocalizations.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

What is the typical social structure of jackals?

Jackals typically form monogamous pairs.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

Are hyenas larger than jackals?

Yes, hyenas are generally larger and more robust than jackals.
Janet White
Jan 03, 2024

What family do jackals belong to?

Jackals belong to the Canidae family.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 03, 2024

Do hyenas hunt or scavenge?

Hyenas both hunt and scavenge, depending on the opportunity.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

Do jackals have a wide geographic range?

Yes, jackals are found across Africa, Asia, and parts of southeastern Europe.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

Are jackals solitary or social animals?

Jackals are less social than hyenas and often seen in pairs or small groups.
Janet White
Jan 03, 2024

What is unique about the hyena's vocalization?

Hyenas are known for their distinctive laughs and whoops.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

How do hyenas contribute to their ecosystem?

Hyenas help maintain ecological balance by scavenging and hunting.
Harlon Moss
Jan 03, 2024

What do jackals typically eat?

Jackals are omnivorous, eating small animals, birds, and fruits.
Janet White
Jan 03, 2024

What roles do female hyenas play in their clans?

Female hyenas are dominant and lead the clans.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

What adaptations help jackals survive in different environments?

Jackals' adaptability in diet and habitat choice helps them survive.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

How do humans impact jackals and hyenas?

Human activities affect their habitats and food sources, impacting their populations.
Janet White
Jan 03, 2024

What kind of habitat do jackals prefer?

Jackals are adaptable to various habitats, from savannas to woodlands.
Janet White
Jan 03, 2024

Are all hyenas spotted?

No, there are different species like spotted, brown, and striped hyenas.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 03, 2024

How do hyenas interact with other predators?

Hyenas often compete with other predators like lions.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

Do hyenas have any natural predators?

Adult hyenas have few natural predators, but cubs are vulnerable.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024

How do jackals communicate?

Jackals communicate through vocalizations like howls.
Janet White
Jan 03, 2024

Can hyenas be found outside of Africa?

Yes, some hyena species are also found in parts of Asia.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 03, 2024

Do jackals form packs like wolves?

No, jackals do not form large packs like wolves.
Sara Rehman
Jan 03, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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