By day Spotted Hyaena usually avoid people. At night they will not enter a camp while people are awake, but will wait until everyone is asleep. There are many records of Hyaenas attacking sleeping people. They may sneak up as close as possible and then rush in and bite off a portion of their victim, with which they retreat. They are also prone to enter tents if they smell food inside.
They are, however, cowardly and will run away if you make a noise or adopt an aggressive attitude. Do not sleep in the open and do not let food or dirty dishes lie about. Under certain circumstances Spotted Hyaenas have been known to attack humans during the day and in some areas apparently specialise in this type of behaviour. In Malawi there have, for example, been instances where Spotted Hyaenas have attacked humans by day.