The Fishing Hyena in Masai Mara

In the Mara eco-system, there are apex predators like Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs, who hunt for themselves. But not very animal hunts for themselves in this ecosystem.
There are some free-loaders who enjoy scavenging on the kills made by others / carcasses of animals died of natural causes. They are also opportunistic hunters.

Hyenas are one fo those scavengers who look for signs of kill and gather near the kill to finish it off.

Scavenging is a sure shot way of eating food without wasting energy and without sustaining injuries to catch a prey.

Hyenas are known to pester all the big cats and steal their kills. The big cats also do not want to fight with them because a) they come in a group so its difficult b) any injury asued by the hyenas can keep them off hunting for days/ weeks or worse, prove fatal for the big cats. Its not worth risking physical fitness for the sake of one kill, so the lions let go the carcass.

There have been instances where the lions (i.e males) got so pissed off that they have killed hyenas who were trying to steal their kill.

However, desperate times calls for desperte measures. During summer months, when the waterholes are dry and there is overall lack of food around, this hyena got his paws dirty and
caught a fish for itself.

We saw this hyena walking towards our 4×4 vehicle and as thehyena came close, we noticed that it was carrying something in the mouth.
Soon it was clear , that the hyena is carrying a fish.

I did google for ‘hyena catching fish’, there are very few references / evidences on the internet where Hyena has caught fish.

We were really lucky to witness and photograph this fishing hyena!

Having a zoom lens was really useful as this hyena was talking towards us, I could take multiple images as the hyena walked.

If I had a prime lens, maybe after few shots, as the hyena came closer, I would have missed the pictures of this rare event. Primes lenses are great for quality pcitures but that comes with a serious constraint of focal length and the risk of missing out of photos if there is no second camera with shorter lens available immediately. This is why my recommendation is to carry one camera with long range and other camera with medium range lens.

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve, Narok, Kenya

Camera : Nikon D7100

Lens: @400mm

Aperture: F/5.6

Shutter Speed : 1/750th Sec

ISO: 1000

Tripod / Flash: None

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