The Bipedal Hyena of Timbavati

By Kings Camp Team on December 12, 2022

Nature can be unforgiving. It is a place where the strong thrive and the weak make easy targets. So, when one of the hyenas on Timbavati Private Nature Reserve suffered a bite to the spinal cord from a lion (an injury that rendered both of his hind legs useless) nobody held out much hope for his survival.

However, more than a year has passed since the lion attack and our beloved “two-wheel-drive” hyena continues to defy the odds and astonish us all. He makes his way around using only his front legs, having adapted remarkably to the hindrance in his mobility.

One of our guides, Cathan Moore, chronicles the journey of this hyena in detail on his Instagram page (@bush_maniac). In one of his posts, dated 2 July 2022, he had the following to say:

“The more time I get to spend with this hyena, the more I am in awe of his incredible character. 2-wheel-drive deserves to be the most famous hyena in the world and that’s what I plan to do!

Over a year since his injury, and he continues to prove everyone wrong. He travels great distances and has that uncanny hyena ability to always be in the right place at the right time to score an easy meal or avoid looming danger. One moment that sticks out is when he unknowingly strolled past an old male leopard who (in need of a meal) started stalking him. Our hyena friend went behind a bush and instead of coming out the other side, did a 180° turn and completely bamboozled the leopard who spent the next 10 minutes waiting for his supposed next meal to emerge.”

Our hyena is gaining a lot of interest and has become widely searched under viral animal videos.

Whilst it seems this tenacious guy has regained some movement in his hind legs, his full recovery is still under dispute. One thing’s for sure: He never gives up!

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Hyenas have immense upper body strength. Hyenas in South Africa are conditioned for hardship from birth. Did you know, hyenas are one of few carnivores born with their eyes wide open and a full set of teeth? Newborn pups start tussling for dominance from birth.

These days our bipedal friend seemingly makes use of his hind legs for balance. That said, spinal damage is a serious injury with little hope of full recovery. Hyenas are natural scavengers, which counts in this guy’s favour. He has managed to keep himself fed by depending on his nature and instinct to track down “free” meals.

Kings Camp, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

King’s Camp offers old-world luxury in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. As part of the greater Kruger National Park, our reserve boasts an abundance of wildlife, including the much-coveted Big 5.

If you’re interested in inquiring about accommodation options at Kings Camp, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly reservations team directly at or use our online booking system.

Join us for a bespoke safari experience you’ll never forget!


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