Female Spotted Hyena with penis-like genitals
Photo Details: Female Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) showing the unusual and male-like genitals, Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Block, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Canon Rebel XS 10.1MP); Lens: Canon 70-300 F4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 90mm; Shutter speed: 1/30; Aperture: f8; ISO: 400.

Additional Info: One of the many myths about African wildlife is that hyenas are hermaphrodites (having some or all of the primary sex characteristics of both genders).

The origins of this misconception are based on appearance and behavior – female spotted hyenas look like they have male genitalia, are bigger and more agressive than males, and have equally high testosterone levels.

But it is nevertheless a myth, as male hyenas cannot conceive or have babies, and females cannot sire them. To find out more about spotted hyenas and their female-dominated social hierarchy, read conservationist Roddy Smith’s article, Female Spotted Hyenas Burdened with Hermaphrodite Myth.

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