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Hyena Feedin’ Time

I mentioned in an earlier post that I got the chance to feed some hyenas while I was in the walled city. The city is known for its hyenas and when the walls were built around the original city, who knows how many years ago, they actually left holes in the bottoms of the walls so that the hyenas could come in at night and eat the evil spirits that roamed the cities. For whatever reason, hyenas have always been a part of this city’s culture and history. Although they claim the hyenas are pretty harmless, I was also told that the world’s leading expert on hyena bites (who knew there was such a title) lives and works in their city.

In the walled city, they have a tradition that every New year they go up on this mountain and cook a big pot of porridge and call the lead hyena to them. If he looks at the porridge and likes it, he tells all the others to eat it and that year will be a year of peace. If he doesn’t like it, then he tells them not to eat it and that year the city will suffer trouble and hyena attacks. Kind of like ground hogs day (kind of) in America, but now it is more just a joke. Somewhere in there, the porridge tradition transitioned over to people feeding the hyenas on a regular basis. Apparently, if you go to this city, you just have to experience feeding the hyenas a piece of raw meat from your hand, or better yet, from a stick in your mouth. So, of course, we felt the need to do this.

I was a little skittish of the whole ordeal because I had read that hyenas had jaws strong enough to crush skulls and that didn’t sound pleasant to me, but I am also not one to pass up an experience, so I was all in. At one point, the guy helping me feed the hyenas, held the meat over my shoulder (very near my skull) and had the hyena come up to eat it. In the picture, I am just about hugging the guy because I was trying to get my skull as far as possible from that hyena’s jaws. (see below)

I was not a fan of this move.

I don’t think this is something I would want to do again, but it was worth doing once just to say that I did it. You can click on the pictures below to see a larger image. #gallery-161-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-161-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-161-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-161-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

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