It really is a laughing hyena! Animal gets giggles on South Africa safari
This grinning hyena looks more than pleased to kick off 2013.
Photographer Bridgena Barnard captured the hilarious sight in South Africa's Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
She told Rex Features: "The Hyena with his Motley pattern coat entertained us like no other. A clown deluxe!
"Every time the camera clicked he juggled and gave a new pose, moving around and entertaining the photographer with absolute delight. Like a truly talented "Kings Fool", he left this laugh for last - seeming to grin from ear to ear.
"He did not wait for the encore, just disappeared in the grass like a soft breeze."
Hyenas make a variety of vocalisations, including howling screams, wailing calls, and the well-known "laughter" used to alert other clan members up to three miles away of a food source.
The giggling sounds of a hyena contain important information about the animal's status, say scientists.
A study to decipher their so-called "laugh" published in the journal BMC Ecology says the pitch of the giggle reveals a hyena's age, while variations in the frequency of notes convey information about the animal's social rank.
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