Dire hyenas are large hyenas. They are massive, striped animals with slavering jaws. They are known to throw their heads back and scream with an hysterical-seeming laugh. Dire hyenas chase both lions and their smaller cousins away from prey; hunting in packs, they are particularly dangerous. Dire hyenas are about 8 feet long and 5 feet high, and weigh more than 800 pounds.
A dire hyena pack often sends in a few of its members to harass prey while the rest of the pack circles for position. During this delaying action, the foremost hyenas fight defensively; when the full pack is in position it charges as a unit.