Brown hyaenas are solitary foragers, but most of them live in groups which occupy fixed territories. Their anal gland produces two pastes: one being a strong smelling white paste and the other a less smelling black paste. These two convey information relating to the movements of individuals or groups.
It has a powerful build and sensitive hearing, but despite this the brown hyaena is not as adept at killing as the spotted hyaena, and generally confines itself to preying on small mammals, birds and insects.
They are also a lot more rare than spotted hyaenas. Their sense of smell is very well-developed, and they can detect carcasses over long distances. From 2 to 4 young are born.