Traditions

The Hyena Men of Nigeria

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Known to locals as "hyena guides," but portrayed negatively by Nigerian press, the controversial hyena men along the peripheries of Nigerian cities spend their lives with powerful animals. The animals the hyena men travel with are often killed because they are seen as evil. The men of this mysterious group earn their living by performing for crowds with dangerous animals such as hyenas, rock pythons and baboons, and selling traditional medicines. Many Nigerians believe the men in this unique group has special powers which enable them to tame wild beasts feared by others in the region. They handle spotted hyenas, which are the most aggressive and the largest of the four different hyena breeds.

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