Accelerometer-based predictions of behaviour elucidate factors affecting the daily activity patterns of spotted hyenas

Pranav Minasandra, Frants H. Jensen, Andrew S. Gersick, Kay E. Holekamp, Eli D. Strauss, Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Animal activity patterns are highly variable and influenced by internal and external factors, including social processes. Quantifying activity patterns in natural settings can be challenging, as it is difficult to monitor animals over long time periods. Here, we developed and validated a machine-learning-based classifier to identify behavioural states from accelerometer data of wild spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), social carnivores that live in large fission-fusion societies. By combining this classifier with continuous collar-based accelerometer data from five hyenas, we generated a complete record of activity patterns over more than one month. We used these continuous behavioural sequences to investigate how past activity, individual idiosyncrasies, and social synchronization influence hyena activity patterns. We found that hyenas exhibit characteristic crepuscular-nocturnal daily activity patterns. Time spent active was independent of activity level on previous days, suggesting that hyenas do not show activity compensation. We also found limited evidence for an effect of individual identity on activity, and showed that pairs of hyenas who synchronized their activity patterns must have spent more time together. This study sheds light on the patterns and drivers of activity in spotted hyena societies, and also provides a useful tool for quantifying behavioural sequences from accelerometer data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230750
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 8 2023


  • accelerometer
  • behavioural classification
  • biologging
  • circadian rhythm
  • daily activity pattern
  • social entrainment
  • spotted hyena

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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