Do female hyenas have male parts? Why do female hyenas look like males?

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Do female hyenas have male parts?

Female hyenas do not have true male parts. In fact, they do have a female part which is an elongated-sized clitoris that closely resembles the penis of a male, but this isn’t a real penis.

We can scientifically term this penis-like elongated clitoris as a Pseudopenis, or Penile-Clitoris. In some books, you will also find this to be named also as Pseudo-Phallus.

This penis-like thing coming out of the body of the female is actually her clitoris containing the birthing canal which is only about 2.5 cm in diameter.

This clitoris containing the birthing canal comes out about 17 to 18 cms in length out from her body resembling a penis-like structure.

In mammals, we all know that males have testicles that are those two balls located inside a loose bag of skin (scrotum) underneath the penis. And that the females have the labia (lips) that are actually the folds of skin around their vaginal opening.

But here is another strange thing to note is that their Penile-Clitoris also appear to have testicles as it seems, but in reality, they don’t.

The testicles like stuff that you will see at the base of any female hyena’s Penile-Clitoris are not actually testicles as many people think, but these are their labia that have folded up and have gotten fused by getting filled with fatty tissues.


So, the absence of true testicles, and a true penis is the cause why female hyenas do not have male parts.

In fact, the presence of an enlarged clitoris and folded up labia is the cause why female hyenas have female parts only and not male parts.

Female Spotted Hyena Reproductive Anatomy

Why do female hyenas look like males?

Female hyenas look like males due to the presence of a 7 inches long penis-like enlarged clitoris along with testicles-like folded up and fused labia.

During the time of mating and giving birth to the young ones, they even get erections of their enlarged clitoris having the birth canal.

It gets erected with filled blood vessels at the time of mating and while giving birth. And, as soon as after giving birth the pseudo-penis gets stretched.

In normal situations that is when flaccid, the pseudo-penis of the female is retracted into her abdomen, and at that time the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris) is only visible.

In most scenarios, you will find that the female hyenas look larger and are heavier than their male counterparts because they grow faster as compared to the males.

And, along with their larger size, the females have an enlarged clitoris and testicles-like folded up and fused labia. So, this adds an advantage to the female hyenas to look more dominant, and in fact, this often makes them look like a male hyena.

There are differences between a male hyena’s true penis and a female hyena’s pseudo penis. The pseudo penis of females’ is somewhat shorter in length, of greater thickness, and more with rounded glans at the tip, as compared to the males’ true penis.

The fact is that the males’ true penis is longer and thinner with an angular glans head at the tip as compared to the female’s penis. It is due to this reason why the male is able to insert his penis into the female’s pseudo-penis through her genital opening once she has retracted her penile-clitoris on itself.

There’s is a quick way to differentiate between a male and a female hyena. If you see that the tip of the erect penis is pointed and angular then it’s a male hyena.

And, if you find that the tip is bluntly rounded and somewhat straight across then it’s a female hyena.

So, it’s due to their hypertrophied clitorises that have enlarged beyond normal proportions, somewhat more aggressive social behavior as compared to the males, and their capability of penile erection that causes female hyenas to look like males.

Also, in both males and females, the base of the glans is covered with penile spines.

So, all of these features add together creating much confusion, and so make it nearly impossible to differentiate between the two sexes by only looking at their mere external morphology.

Can female hyenas mate with other females?

No, this is biologically and physically impossible for the female hyenas to mate with other female hyenas.

Female hyenas are female and cannot mate with an individual of the same sex. Hyenas are not homosexual, and also that biologically being homosexual is not possible for them.

So, they are strictly heterosexual, and so that a male needs a female in order to mate and have offspring.

They do have Pseudopenis, but this doesn’t mean that their Pseudopenis will work like a male’s true penis.

A Female’s Pseudopenis is morphologically, anatomically, and functionally different from a male’s penis.

The male penis has the ability to mount the female and perform sexual intercourse by putting his penis into the females’ genitalia and inseminate her.

While the female has her Pseudopenis which is actually an erectile portion of her enlarged clitoris having the birth canal. This birth canal has the genital opening leading through the Corpus Clitoris towards their vaginal opening where insemination by the male’s penis occurs.

Yes, it is true that both sexes get erections when greeting each other before mating. And for successful mating in hyenas to occur it requires that the male insert his erect penis into the female’s erect or partially-erect pseudopenis in order to inseminate her well.

After successful mating, it’s hard and much tricky for the male to pull off his penis from inside of the female’s pseudopenis.

And, also that it takes a lot of cautious and experienced positioning for the male to put his penis inside the female because of her awkward enlarged clitoral structure.

Unlike other mammals, a male hyena enters his penis into the female through her pseudo-penis where there is an opening.

During the time of mating, you will find that the female will retract her penile-clitoris inside her abdomen, and this is the time when the male will enter his penis into the female by sliding lightly beneath her with his penis forcing into her in an upward directional angle.

Do female hyenas have more testosterone than males?

Yes, infant female hyenas have more testosterone levels than infant male hyenas. And, adult female hyenas of the same age have as high testosterone as those of the same-aged adult male hyenas.

In some scenarios, it has been seen that the adult male hyenas have more testosterone levels than their adult male counterparts.

Whatever may be the level, it’s always true that infant females have higher testosterone than infant males.

A hyena clan will have more female members that act more dominantly and aggressively and also are significantly more muscular than their male counterparts.

This is so because the high-ranking female hyenas provide their developing offspring with higher levels of androgen that she had received from her alpha mother as a hierarchy through the bloodstream passing through the embryo’s body.

There is a genetic cause for the same, as for why the infant females receive more testosterone level than the infant males, in the case both male and female infants were born from the same alpha mom.

This is so why infant females seem to have more testosterone levels than infant males. And, this ultimately causes females to be heavier and more aggressive than males and also to dominate over the males.

Female spotted hyenas are only slightly larger (about 10%) than males, with the alpha female and her offspring having a higher ranking than others.

Hyenas eat very fast as the fastest and most dominant hyena gets the most amount of food to eat.

There is also an advantage for the same as the nature has caused adaptation in the females to be more aggressive, as the females need to get proper nutrition for them to get extra energy for giving birth to their young ones. So, it’s due to this adaptation that amongst 40 to 60 individuals of a clan who scrap over food so fast the females are able to act aggressively and get their food.

The formation of Pseudopenis in females is also the reason for an increased level of testosterone in infants that causes them to grow very fast and show various male-like body parts.

And, this increased level of testosterone is also a potent organizer of anatomical and behavioral differentiation between the two sexes, particularly during the early infancy in females.

Are female hyenas stronger than males? What do you think?

Female hyenas are not always stronger than males. And that, their strength is not always related to their increased testosterone levels of course.

If we talk about strength in numbers then it is very very much sure that females have more social support than males.

And so why while in a group female hyenas can be seen to be more aggressive and stronger than their male counterparts.

But, if you look closely at a hyena clan with many native males that have formed a socially supportive group, then it can also be seen that the chances of winning of male hyenas are almost as often as those of the females and so the sexes are co-dominant.

It’s also due to female hyenas’ strength in numbers with each female hyena being 10% more masculine nature as compared to the males that they can be seen standing on the front lines in battles and conflicts arising with predators or with other clans.

In most of the scenarios as reported in the wild, it has been also seen that the female hyenas will consistently win in a one-on-one confrontation with males because of their more masculine, dominant, and aggressive nature.

So, the females’ dominance over males is not necessarily a direct consequence of sex or physical strength at all times, but maybe shaped by their social environment and also due to the various evolutionary factors that have acted on them over the course of evolution.

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