I recently drove from Birmingham, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana. Driving across the state of Mississippi, on a two lane freeway with sparse traffic, I saw what I immediately identified (in my novice opinion) as Hyenas walking along the side of the road...in the grassy/wooded areas off the side of the freeway. I saw two of them travelling somewhat close to each other...and then many miles further down the road a spotted another of the same creature, and another miles down from that.
I couldn't believe my eyes. I know nearly every breed of fox, dog, coyote...and this animal was not it. The shape...looking somewhat hunchbacked, with a higher front half than the lower, walking with the neck and head curving downward...the ears being short and somewhat upright, but not like any fox...about the size of a German shepherd, short haired, and with a head shaped not quite like any dog or cat I have ever seen...it looked to me distinctly like a hyena.
I didn't try to get close to any of them, and I didn't think it remarkable...since there were a few out there, I thought this must be natural to the region. Then when I got back to my hometown of Detroit, Michigan, I was at a dinner party at a riverside club, and one of the gentlemen at my table remarked that he saw what he thought to be a hyena roaming the private drive leading up to the club, just near the waterfront (in 20 degree winter weather).
Do Hyenas exist in North America's Wilderness? Is this a creature that resembles the Hyena...a relative?