The spotted hyena is a non-seasonal breeder, though a birth peak does occur during the wet season.
Like many felid species, the spotted hyena is promiscuous, and no enduring pair bonds are formed. Members of both sexes may copulate with several mates over the course of several years
The mating process is complicated, as the male's penis enters and exits the female's reproductive tract through her pseudo-penis rather than directly through the vagina, which is blocked by the false scrotum and testes.
Males will show submissive behaviour when approaching females in heat, even if the male outweighs his partner.
Females usually favour younger males born or joined into the clan after they were born. Older females show a similar preference, with the addition of preferring males with whom they have had long and friendly prior relationships.
These unusual traits make mating more laborious for the male than in other mammals, while also ensuring that rape is physically impossible.
Once the female retracts her clitoris, the male enters the female by sliding beneath her, an operation facilitated by the penis's upward angle.
Females are polyestrus, with an estrus period lasting two weeks.
Photos by Anne Hilborn