Sunday Sketch: Are You a Squitter?

Spotted hyenas are no quitters, but they are squitters! A squitter is the annoying, grating sound a spotted hyena cub makes when it wants its mother to let it nurse. This sound is just one of about a dozen distinct vocalizations in the spotted hyena repertoire. Other calls in include “whooping”, “giggling”, “lowing”, and “alarm rumbling”. And these different calls can each serve more than one purpose, with slight alterations changing the call’s meaning to listeners. This diverse set of vocalizations helps spotted hyenas to communicate in their complex social groups.

Painting by Emily Grout. Emily studies the coordination of communication in social carnivores. You can read more about the project here:

Fact by Alexander Vining


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