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The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

NHMLA Member Magazine

October November 2017
Download the Naturalist PDF (4 MB)

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Mammalogy Contacts

Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals

Jim Dines, Ph.D.
Collections Manager
(213) 763-3400

David Janiger
Curatorial Assistant
(213) 763-3369


Spotted hyena

Crocuta crocuta (Erxleben, 1777)

Spotted hyena diorama in the African Mammal Hall


 Serengeti Plain, Tanzania


 Leslie Simson

Background artist:

 Florence Bryant McKenzie

Spotted hyenas are predators and reach speeds of 35 mph in pursuit of their prey. When hunting in packs they are capable of taking down the largest of prey.

Spotted hyenas live in clans of up to 100 individuals. Adult females weigh 160lbs and are typically 20 lbs heavier than males. The female’s urogenital system is unique among mammals; there is no vagina and the clitoris is as large and as erectile as a male’s penis.

Biological Information

Range map for the spotted hyena


Formerly widespread except west African forests and Congo Basin but now being actively eradicated


Open savannas, moors, steppes and grassland


Accelerating decline due to active eradication


Larger mammals; carrion if available

Further information about this animal may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for spotted hyena.