The feeding habits of spotted hyaenas were recorded during a 2-year full-time study in the Lowveld of South Africa. The animals were observed for 335 h at night using artificial light. These results were supplemented by the analysis of 200 regurgitations and 527 scats collected on a monthly basis over 12 months, with a consideration of the availability of different prey species. It is argued that regurgitation gets rid of any excess of hair, the remainder in the scats giving an indication of the frequency with which hyaenas feed on each species. Hyaena foraging habits are outlined for this densely wooded habitat, where the difficulty of observing hunting behaviour may inevitably tend to an unrealistic bias towards scavenging. Faecal analysis is discussed as a guide to the most likely sources of food consumed by hyaenas and hence to their importance in a natural area.