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What Does Hyena Taste Like? Is It Safe to Eat?

As strange as it may sound, hyenas are consumed as a delicacy in some parts of Africa.

In fact, during the times of drought or famine, hyena meat is considered as a source of food.

But the question is, what does hyena taste like?

Is it safe to consume?

Let’s dive into the world of hyena meat and find out.

What is a Hyena?

Hyenas are carnivorous animals found in Africa and some parts of Asia.

They are primarily known for their distinctive sounds, which are typically associated with cackling laughter.

Hyenas are nocturnal and have a strong sense of smell that enables them to hunt their prey successfully.

They feed on a variety of animals like antelopes, wildebeests, and zebras.

While there are four species of hyena, only three are found in Africa.

The spotted hyena, brown hyena, and striped hyena are commonly found in the African savannas.

Overall, hyenas are a source of pride and fear in Africa, and their meat is considered to be quite valuable.

What Does Hyena Taste Like?

The taste of hyena meat is often compared to that of lean beef. The meat is rich in flavor and has a slightly gamey taste, but not as intense as other game meats. In terms of texture, hyena meat is similar to that of a lean steak.

Unlike beef, however, hyena meat has a more distinct and robust flavor with a slight gaminess.

Hyena meat is also rather tough due to the animal’s muscular build and lack of fat.

Overall, hyena meat has a satisfying savory taste, with hints of spices and herbs notable in some meals.

But while some people enjoy the taste of hyena meat, others find it overpowering and too gamey.

Is It Safe to Consume Hyena Meat?

While hyena meat is consumed in some parts of Africa, it is not a common food source.

In fact, there are some safety concerns associated with consuming hyena meat.

Hyenas are known carriers of zoonotic diseases, which can be transmitted to humans.

Also, the hyena’s diet consists of a variety of animals, including carrion, which can carry harmful bacteria.

Therefore, consuming hyena meat poses significant health risks.

Additionally, hunting hyenas is illegal in many parts of Africa, which means that eating hyena meat contributes to the illegal wildlife trade.

Therefore, it is not advised to consume hyena meat due to the potential health risks and the impact it has on the environment.

Hyenas in Traditional African Cuisine

Despite its safety concerns, hyena meat is still consumed in some parts of Africa, particularly in communities where meat is a rare commodity.

In Southern African, for instance, hyena meat is often consumed as part of traditional customs and practices, such as initiation rituals for young men.

In Tanzania, hyena meat is considered to be a delicacy, where it is often cooked with spices and served as a stew.

In Zambia, hyena meat is often mixed with other types of meats, like beef and goat, to make a dish known as Kapenta.

But, it is important to note that these traditions are not widespread in Africa, and hunting hyenas is illegal in many parts of the continent.


In conclusion, while hyena meat has a unique flavor profile, it poses significant health risks and contributes to the illegal wildlife trade.

Given the health concerns and the animal’s status as a protected species, it is best to avoid consuming hyena meat altogether.

If you’re curious about African food, there are plenty of other dishes to try that are safe and delicious.

You can enjoy various African stews and soups, as well as barbecued meats like chicken and beef.

African cuisine offers flavors unlike any other, and there is no need to take risks when it comes to eating wild or protected animals.

In conclusion, hyena meat should not be eaten and should only be enjoyed from a distance as a part of the ecosystem.

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.