ZOO AND YOU: Keepers try to avoid ‘laughing’ hyenas at Sunset Zoo

FOX 43 News Zoo and You

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Hyenas are known for their laughter. “Laugh like a hyena” is a common phrase that means to laugh hysterically, but experts say there is nothing funny about a laughing hyena.

Amelia Jerome is a keeper at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan. She said she works hard to make sure the hyenas she takes care of have no need to laugh.

“You often hear the laugh as an aggression,” Jerome said. “Or when they are looking for food.”

The Sunset Zoo is home to two spotted hyenas. Twelve-year-old Charlie is a female and 6-year-old Nia is a male.

“Charlie is very protective of him,” Jerome said. “She’s very dominant and he knows that. He knows that if he does something she doesn’t like she’ll turn around and nip him on the butt.”

Charlie and Nia don’t have to work hard to get food in the Sunset Zoo. However, in the wild, hyenas are skilled pack hunters. While Lions are considered the “king of the jungle” by many, Jerome said they are no match for hyenas.

“If a group of five hyenas come across one lion eating a zebra,” Jerome said. “The hyenas will push the lion off and take their food.”

The Sunset Zoo is located at 2333 Oak Street in Manhattan. It is open everyday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the winter.

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