Lions, formerly plentiful, have disappeared, and leopards and panthers are rare; but jackals, hyenas and Algerian apes are not uncommon.
The hyenas (Hyaenidae), at any rate at the present day, to which consideration is mainly limited, are likewise Old World.
Spotted hyenas and jackals are also numerous.
From all other large Carnivora except the African hunting-dog, hyenas are distinguished by having only four toes on each foot, and are further characterized by the length of the fore-legs as compared with the hind pair, the non-retractile claws, and the enormous strength of the jaws and teeth, which enables them to break the hardest bones and to retain what they have seized with unrelaxing grip.
The lion is now only found in the northern parts of Futa Jallon; panthers, leopards, hyenas and wild cats are more common and the civet is found.
Although hyenas are now confined to the warmer regions of the Old World, fossil remains show that they had a more northerly range during Tertiary times; the European cave-hyena being a form of the spotted species, known as H.