Hyenas as pets is restricted by law as well as some obvious reasons. They are wild. But traditions and cultures have defied wilderness on many a circumstance. This is one such story from Nigeria. The Hyena Men are there for some peculiar reasons.
They walk around with a muzzled hyena on a leash, carrying a megaphone, going through nooks and crannies, calling out to households if they have kids still wetting their bed. They have a cure.
They get paid to take the child (wailing and crying) on a ride on the back of the hyena through the village square with everyone watching.
And the therapy seems to works — probably because of the trauma the kid is being put through.
Due to the poor economy of Nigeria, the handlers were forced to devise a creative way to make money so they could continue to take care of their animals. Their solution was to parade their animals through the streets. The baboons will approach onlookers and shake their hands, dance, and perform acrobatic tricks. Some observers will then either give the baboons money or they give the money directly to the handlers. However, the main earners are the hyenas.
In addition to the street shows, the handlers also sell the animals that they capture to nearby zoos and they sell herbs to the public that cure snake bites, scorpion stings, and other animal injuries. They also sell herbs for spiritual problems, and illnesses such as typhoid fever, malaria and syphilis. The shows do not only put money in the pockets of the handlers but also any street vendors who are near the spectacle, benefit from the shows. The hyena men of Nigeria do more than simply put on a street show but they provide medicine to the public and more importantly stimulate the economy of whatever area they are in as well as act as a cultural product from the area.