Scroll down for the full story
This adorable hyena clan was captured by wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas when he visited Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia.
He said: “Like many young animals, these hyena cubs were extremely playful and inquisitive.
“They spent a lot of time chasing each other, squabbling over twigs, bones and other playthings and exploring the area around their den.”
Often mistaken for being sly scavengers, spotted hyenas are rarely anyone’s favourite animal, but Will wanted to show just how adorable hyenas can be.
He said: “Hyenas have a bad reputation but they are actually intelligent and caring animals.
“I hope these pictures show that hyenas can be cute.”
Even though spotted hyenas do feed as scavengers occasionally, the majority of their food comes from taking down wild animals, including wildebeest, zebra and antelope.
The creatures are adept hunters and communicate with the rest of their clan with a series of vocal noises, notably their infamous laugh.
Will invested a lot of time with the clan so that the cubs could become accustomed to him.
He said: “Initially the cubs were very shy and would only peek out of the opening of their den.
“I spent many hours at their den in order for them to become comfortable with my presence.
“By the end of my trip they were chewing on the wheels of my land cruiser!”
Hyena cubs are born in their dens and have a full set of teeth when they arrive.
They are fierce creatures from birth and weaker cubs can sometimes be killed in the scramble for their mother’s milk.
Despite their natural ferocity, they stay close to their mother when they leave the den.
Will said: “They would only come out of the den when an adult member of the clan was around.
“When their mother was around they would whine and follow her around until they got fed!”
Getting a glimpse into the hyena cub’s world reinforced Will’s love and fascination with the animal kingdom.
He added: “I am fascinated by many aspects of the natural world; from the struggle to survive that wild animals go through to the complex interactions between difference species.
“I feel most alive when I am exploring wild and remote places.”
See more of Will’s work at: http://www.burrard-lucas.com/