In Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen (1937), a Danish traveller to Hamburg, Count Schimmelmann, happens to come across a small, itinerant menagerie and is especially interested in its hyena. The zoo’s proprietor approaches him and gives him some unasked-for information about this exotic animal. ‘It is a great thing to have got a Hyena to Hamburg, where there has never been one till now’, explains the zookeeper. ‘All Hyenas, you will know, are hermaphrodites, and in Africa, where they come from, on a full-moon night they will meet and join in a ring of copulation wherein each individual takes the double part of male and female. Did you know that?’ The Count, ‘with a slight movement of disgust’, admits that he did not.

– Mikita Brottman, Hyena (2012)


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