Watch a Bold Man Tickle a Hyena’s Belly Like It’s a Golden Retriever

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: August 30, 2023
© Ondrej Prosicky/
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Key Points:

  • The spotted hyena is the largest and most prevalent among the four hyena species.
  • Hyenas possess formidable jaws and teeth capable of crushing bones and tearing flesh.
  • With a bite force of approximately 1,100 pounds per square inch (psi), hyenas have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom.

The video starts with a man lying on the ground next to an animal that looks like a large, spotted dog. He gently strokes its fur and tickles its belly, clearly having a great time with his pet.

But as the camera zooms in, you realize that this is not a dog at all. It’s a hyena! A spotted hyena, to be exact, is the largest and most common of the four hyena species. Hyenas are known for their powerful jaws and teeth, which can crush bones and tear flesh. They have a bite force of about 1,100 pounds per square inch (psi), one of the strongest in the animal kingdom. They are also excellent hunters and scavengers, feeding on everything from antelopes to zebras to hippos when the opportunity arises. So… why is a man tickling a hyena?

Hyena in woodland
Hyenas are primarily scavengers and often steal food, although they will hunt in packs if the need arises.

©Ondrej Prosicky/

Despite their reputation as ruthless predators, hyenas are highly intelligent, curious, and social animals. They live in large groups called clans, which can have up to 80 members. They communicate with each other using a variety of sounds, the most famous of which is their “laugh” which is equal parts creepy to humans and useful for how they talk to each other. They also have complex relationships and hierarchies within their clans, with females being dominant over males.

Developing Relationships With Dangerous Animals

Africa, Animal, Animal Wildlife, Animals Hunting, Animals In The Wild
Hyenas can be unpredictable, and you shouldn’t approach them, or they may attack.


Some people might wonder how the man in the video can play with a hyena so casually as if it were a harmless pet. The truth is that he is not an ordinary person but a professional who has dedicated his life to studying and caring for these animals.

He also likely how to read its body language and signals and how to avoid provoking or upsetting it. This is not something that anyone can do, and it takes years of training and decades of experience to achieve. Hyenas are still wild and dangerous animals, and they should never be treated as pets or toys by regular people. Only experts like him can safely handle them, and even then, they always take precautions and risks!

Is it Normal for Hyenas to Let Humans Touch Them?

Are Hyenas Dogs
When young, hyenas are lovable and enjoy contact. As they get older, aggression becomes more common proving that they are wild and unpredictable predators.

©gualtiero boffi/

While young pet hyenas may enjoy belly rubs and human contact, their aggressive instincts intensify as they mature. This is reflective of their innate nature as wild and predatory animals.

Additionally, hyenas are known to scavenge on human corpses, they typically exhibit caution around humans and are considered less dangerous compared to the large cats with whom they share territory.

Further, Hyenas similar to wolves generally exhibit unfriendly behavior towards other carnivores. Hyenas engage in fierce and sometimes fatal battles with lions and African wild dogs, often asserting dominance over kills and territory.

Check Out the Video Below!

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About the Author

Colby is a freelance writer from Charlotte, North Carolina. When he isn't distracted by his backyard birdfeeder, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone around him about what he's recently learned. There's a whole world to learn about and Colby is content to spend his life learning as much as he can about it!

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