BaxterBoo Blog
January 2, 2009

Pet Hyenas

main image

I have no idea what the story is on these images, but this is pretty freaky. Those are some serious muzzles dog leashes on those pet hyenas.

Pet Hyenas

These are apparently what pass for pet dogs among street toughs in Nigeria.

Tamara Dula on August 14 at 9:34 PM said:

What kind of pet is that i mean they are very unique but very, very, dangerous don't you think even for Africa. Im just saying!
schoe on September 9 at 1:55 PM said:

They aren't pets. The men that own these animals, own them legally and are more or less street performers. It's like a small family traveling circus, more or less. It's not common for them to be kept as pets, and "street thugs," as you call them, don't keep them as pets.
Barbara on November 6 at 3:14 PM said:

this is pretty cool I have to say... I mean a "hyena pet"??? I want one!!!!!
Bob Tyner on November 18 at 5:17 PM said:

This is freaky!Hyena pets ? Those are not pets .They're wild beasts!
Visk on November 19 at 1:54 AM said:

THAT. Is so cool and exotic man! Though their jaws are really strong, and one would have to be really careful. Maybe they might be safe because they were raised as pups in captivity...?
Matt on November 23 at 10:55 PM said:

no. It is common practice in Nigeria and the rest of africa to use Baboon's (seen in top picture) and Hyena's to help collect debts owed to certain people. and that is a 100% fact
Ryan on November 29 at 10:08 PM said:

Stunning picture. I get nervous around stray dogs, can't imagine seeing a hyena breaking lose.
DJ 4th Wurld on December 14 at 5:03 PM said:

These animals, such as the Hyenas and Baboons, are subdued using black magic. That is why you see the talisman on the arms of the area boys. You cant tame a Hyena or Baboon. Even when you see circus animals acting "tame," the hidden fact is that they have been abused/tortured into submission with all kind of traditional techniques that circuses have perfected over the century. However, in the case of these animals, if the area boys didn't use black magic, they would be dinner for the animals.
Lindinkosi (Gatsheni) on January 5 at 7:40 AM said:

It's so amazing to know that only white people are commenting in issues like this one,without knowing our African history....Our civilization started when we us to communicate with our ancerstors, slotering and walk with so called "wild animals" they mean so much to us if even World says we are poor and uneducated...nothing personal buy they are not debt collectors or criminals, this is the way to communicate with their ancestors and practice their traditional healing....if you want more I can be able to assist you knowing the black man history with the wild beast and nature.Please ance in your life just respect our cultures stop saying nonsense!!!uNdlovu lo (eMngungundlovu)KwaZulu-Natal uma uthanda
Laura on January 14 at 10:09 PM said:

That's simply sad. I mean, if it was government regulated and the people were checked up on by some organization to make sure its all regulated and the people knew what they were doing, then maybe... But, in these photos, they are being used as a power device. They don't care about the animals, only as a status symbol, and I'm pretty sure its illegal. But, I suppose we have world hunger, deceitful governments, and wars to worry about.
red on January 18 at 9:11 PM said:

oh, you just KNOW they fight these animals
Dr.Dre on January 20 at 5:56 PM said:

Its simple: I want one.
yipyap on February 2 at 11:34 PM said:

everyone to them selfs as well as ther culture
yipyap on February 2 at 11:38 PM said:

i wuldnt mind one eitha bong on :)
pretoria on February 10 at 2:03 AM said:

@Lindinkosi (Gatsheni) its a strange comment you make moron..i live in south africa, and plus i am white..i probably know more about afrikan culture than you. dont assume only blaks live in are obviously racist, which is common for most blak shut your mouth
J-man on February 15 at 12:04 AM said:

@Lindinkosi (Gatsheni)... Yeah, white people obviously are going to comment on something like this. Hyenas and baboons are not walked around on leashes through the streets very often in Western Culture...
Zacharia Yonis on March 3 at 1:16 PM said:

woow, really amazed at this i would love to have one.. but they are very dangerous.
johnyy on March 9 at 7:42 PM said:

these boys in da pic are using this to a raise money for them selves. they have to do what they want to do for survival so yall dont think they are crazy!!!!!!!!
T to the J on March 10 at 11:54 AM said:

This is nuts man.... I grew up amazed by hyenas and I've never seen anything like this. I mean if I could get one as a cub then right on but I def. wouldnt be goin out into the wild to get one hahah
S-man on March 14 at 11:21 AM said:

Hey is that Michael Vic in that picture?
Jazzi perkins on March 29 at 9:21 PM said:

How can they put poor hyenas on those metal chains and walk them around like thier pets my opinon is that it's crul and they shoudnt be doing it ! I'm on the hyenas side. And all u people who object "I hate u" I love animals and one day I hope to be a part of green piece cause I love whales to I gave my sister a shurt to wear to japan that said stop whaling for my fourth grade project I made a patision for stoping animal crulty!!
Amber on April 6 at 12:23 PM said:

I think its just a different culture so how can anyone say that they use black magic or beat them or anything else. Thats judging someone because of a picture and personally I would like to have one it would change everything and what everyone says they know about Hyenas!!! P.S. anyone that disagrees with this oh well then dont say stupid stuff because you dont know how they get them maybe they saved them from dieing or something
masai mara safari on April 13 at 12:48 PM said:

This is just wrong. These animals belong in some wildlife sactuary or masai mara ir the serengeti. its just not fair.
Tanzania Safaris on April 13 at 12:54 PM said:

Yeah this could easily bring more revenue to a country like that. Look at what tanzania and kenya have done.
Gam3B0y on April 18 at 9:51 AM said:

I want oneeeeeeeeeeeeeee :((((((((((((((
Steffy on April 18 at 1:20 PM said:

I honestly think this isnt right. look at the first picture: the hyena with the muzzle on seems to be extremely submissive, and the chains arent meant for them (baboons and hyenas). these are predatory animals, it doesnt seem right for us to FORCIBLY chain/ domesticate them. its somewhat selfish. i dont see people in the US chaining wolves or mountain lions (and if they did, just look at the news and see wht happened to them). If these animals are sacred or part of a culture then let them live their lives undisturbed :\
Daisy on April 19 at 9:41 AM said:

Pretoria you talking about you live in Africa and talking about blacks. Please learn how to spell Africa and black before making your comments. Use your ghetto spelling when you text not here.
melko on April 20 at 7:43 PM said:

haha only black people.
rofl on April 30 at 11:31 AM said:

daisy while yor going around correcting people and calling people gheto , maby you should think twice , thats how its spelled where hes from
reasearchit on May 12 at 9:22 AM said:

The men are tax collectors research it online and you will figure it's not that hard
ohboy on May 12 at 9:26 AM said:

Also just because you see that in western culture you can't automatically assume it's cruel. Animals we have as pets today were once domesticated some how. Just because we are more industrialized today does that mean that no more plants or animals can be domesticated? It's part of culture. Whether they are tax collectors or not it is in some form part of their culture.
Traveler on May 24 at 12:28 PM said:

All the info you need...
E . Roberts on May 24 at 4:40 PM said:

I love all the comments I've read and I believe everyone has a right to their opinion. I'm a Nigerian and I have seen these people on the road before. What I have observed is that they are entertainers. They ussually would go to areas with high human traffic and stage a short show. People are thrilled as they don't get to see such wonders of nature. My view on the chain is that these animals are huge!!! I don't think a dog leash will work. I am presently working on harnessing the skills of these individuals and animals and present to the world some inherent skills in our culture. If they are tacx collectors as some people claim I am sure that will be some centuries ago!!! And it may be the requirement of the society. And can be a Additionm to the history of mankind.
BaxterBoo on May 27 at 9:43 AM said:

@Traveler, we recently found all the background information on the photos and are planning on doing another piece about it. Yes, they are from photographer Pieter Hugo and the men and animals are entertainers. It is a tradition passed through many generations. All the myths about them being evil or using the animals for bad things are false.
Squidius on June 3 at 9:51 AM said:

Well people, I have seen it all now - I respect the African Culture very much and this is just another reason why I respect it more BLACK OR WHITE-Although I am White, it's pretty obvious that Africa is a BLACK Continent. The Hyenas are for many reasons. These Men are using them for "Magic Ritual" they are using them by day for "Circus Street Style Enter." and last but not least, I am sure that they are also pretty good for hire when it comes to wanting to make someone feel like they need to do something.. Africa is a place that needs to be respected, but I disagree with Lindinkosi (Gatsheni) about Black's in Africa loving animals.. Africa is the most internally POACHED Continent on the Planet. No one loves animals above given there kids a better life, so stop lying!
Diogenes on June 7 at 2:47 AM said:

It is not uncommon to castrate male animals to make them more docile. I wonder whether this has been done to these animals ?
Diogenes on June 7 at 3:12 AM said:

Any one who is interested can find out more by the photographer, Pieter Hugo, who spent time with them twice. Google "Hyenas in Nigeria" and look for his name. This group of related people makes a living in a very poor country by traveling around Nigeria having the animals perform somewhat like circus animals. They also have snakes and monkeys.
Mt Man on June 9 at 2:49 PM said:

How dose one like myself get a hyena as a pet in the states?
BaxterBoo on June 10 at 3:37 PM said:

@Mt Man - It is probably very unlikely that the US would allow hyenas as pets. If so, I'm sure there would be a super-expensive permit involved.
sanguine entity on June 15 at 5:18 PM said:

this is part of an art exhibit from Pieter Hugo... cheers.
hyenaman on June 16 at 3:45 AM said:

If you guys all like Hyenas...!/pages/Hyenas/135716866445308
Showgal on June 22 at 1:47 AM said:

This looks pretty similar to bear baiting in Eastern Europe and those monks in Thailand with supposedly "tame" tigers on show for tourists. Using local animals to make a living seems to be an internationaly pheomenon in places where money is hard to come by.
Showgal on June 22 at 1:53 AM said:

I just looked at Pieter Hugo's site and found the story that goes with this picture. At the end of his story he posed a very good question I will add here "Instead, perhaps, we could ask why these performers need to catch wild animals to make a living. Or why they are economically marginalised. Or why Nigeria, the world’s sixth largest exporter of oil, is in such a state of disarray." Here is a link to the site:
Jen on June 26 at 4:17 PM said:

@Steffy Yeah,maybe in US you cant see hyenas and baboons chained.But you see dolphins and orcas live in small tanks. well.. point was. in every country there is serious animal right problem. something has to be done to change it to better.
dilon on July 4 at 11:07 PM said:

actually if you do some research you would find that hyenas where ONCE tame in ancient egypt and, as far as we know, many other places in the world. we aren't taught many things and we cannot jump to conclusions when we see something that is shocking, doing so would make us very shallow and plain ignorant. likewise, people have a bad understanding of what is unethical and what is just being cautious .. i myself have a dog that i must always keep on a leash outside due to his type of breed and would not risk his safety (and if he was mean the safety of others)to please some fool that thinks it's "not right" or uncool
Dog Shaman on July 23 at 9:23 AM said:

dilon: no dog needs chained because of breed. I rescue dogs for a living and have never had to chain an animal. In regards to Hyenas, yes the ancient Egyptians domesticated the Hyena ... for food. Doesn't make it correct behaviour. What I will say is this I suspect some handlers are good to their "pets" and others are terrible. I can't judge the path they walk I can only hope their hearts are opened to the harmony that comes with living with natre instead of against it. The Hyena is a beautiful and often maligned animal.
TiaraGrace on August 17 at 8:48 PM said:

Maybe they won't be as bad if you don't watch Lion King haha
Alearia on August 23 at 4:31 AM said:

If I had the chance to meet these brave men I would let them know they are appreciated for what they do. There are reasons they are who they are. The statement they make is unprecidented compared to the millions of people a country decides to control and munipulate other countries with war and terror. I am from America, born and bred and never have been outside of, but I see the greed and the affect of that greed on other countries as the result. These men are not here to hurt anyone or blow up buildings...they are simply surviving in the only way they know how and with the love and support of those that support the mentality of a higher state of being in which they dream to reach......To me, America is no idle and should in no way be the dream of any non materialistic lover of life...
James on September 3 at 8:48 PM said:

THis is sick man, those animals are slavery for entertainment, they are captured to fight with each other to the death! Any one who thinks that is entertaining is as sick as the people who captured these animals to fight.
James on September 28 at 3:33 AM said:

I did do my research, and the hyenas in Egypt are pets, these hyenas are not, they are slaves to sick entertainment. i come from Africa, i would know.
ghd on November 4 at 9:27 PM said:

No idea how you wrote this post..
John on January 31 at 7:20 AM said:

On the other side of the 35mm lens - An interesting take on Pieter Hugo courtesy of Pogus Caesar (a black photographer). Does this balance out Hugo's exploring eye? http:[email protected]/698312896/
Tsukiko on January 5 at 12:08 PM said:

Wow, this is just a few pictures and people already have their own idea about what is going on. I really don't see anything we can complain about. What do you think will happen a packless hyena in African? Bad or good, humans have been doing this since the age of man began. We've destroyed entire habitats to make space for ourselves. We neuter to stop aggression and/or control the population. We've domesticated wild animals for centuries, turning them into pets, livestock, and/or zoo attractions. Have you ever questioned where your meat comes from? Your eggs? Milk? How about your cloths? Wild and domesticated animals are responsible for such luxuries, but what do you think happens to them when their usefulness has run out? Even healthy animals are put down at shelters when they have nowhere else to go.
James on January 15 at 2:12 AM said:

Well Tsukiko, firstly, hyenas don't hunt in packs, they hunt in pairs and even only when tackling hard prey. And in reply to you meat comment, the way we kill animals now is much more humane than before. Since before white men, humans have been eating meat, it is natural, we are dominant over animals and therefore a right to their meat. It is the same as lions have dominance over us, would you call a lion evil? I agree people are cruel to animals, thus my disgust at these hyenas and baboon's fate, but i will disagree that those animals up there are not just pets, those armbands are of nigerian design and it means dominance. Those animals are used for fighting and that is why you see chain muzzles and choke collars on them
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