?The Babies? are Harley?s beloved hyena pets and can usually be found not too far from where she is, ready in a snap to defend their ?Mommy? from danger, or provide her with much needed love.
Named ?Bud? and ?Lou? after classic comedians Bud Abbot and Lou Costello, the Babies are spotted hyenas, a species well known for their incredible intelligence and community-minded organisation.
Spotted hyenas are fascinating animals ? they hunt in well coordinated packs, with sophisticated ways of communicating with each other. They are a matriarchal species and the dominant female has a clitoris that grows in size and shape to resemble a penis. A female hyena, because of the shape of her genitalia, can also choose whether or not she wants to mate ? a male cannot force her. Spotted hyenas can also devour every part of an animal, including the bone!
Though hyenas have suffered a bad reputation over the years, having been associated with cunning, deceptiveness, sneakery and theft, it?s now believed they have intelligence approaching primate levels. It is also spotted hyenas who make the famous ?laughing? sound, making them a perfect choice of pet for our two demented Clowns.
Combined with the Joker and Harley, the Babies complete their twisted family unit, serving as the couple?s surrogate ?kids?. Although they are ideal for providing protection, being both a pack animal and immensely powerful carnivores, the Babies seem more often to provide companionship to Joker and Harley.
They first appear in The Man Who Killed Batman, flanking Joker as he sits on his throne. It?s interesting to note they are lying down and relaxed here, only sitting up when Joker moves. Later on, in Harley and Ivy, the Babies? role is confined to that of pets although it is demonstrated that Harley is their primary caretaker, being the one who feeds them. Nonetheless, Joker is astonished that they snap at him and, indeed, the way they respond to him in other episodes indicates there is a bond there. Even when Harley is not around, Joker engages with them ? for example, in Joker?s Millions, they greet him with wagging tales and he takes them with him to the Iceberg, where they run amok and enjoy fine food.
Although it?s doubtful Joker has a true emotional attachment to them, he definitely seems to regard them as a part of his life.
However, their deepest bond is most definitely with Harley. She openly and ardently adores them, as they do her. The trust between them is absolute and they follow her every command immediately, as well as following her around and pawing at her lovingly. It?s also of note that Joker never commands them to do anything, although he interacts with them. That domain seems to be Harley?s. It is by Harley?s side they are most often found and the three clearly rely and care for each other. One can even supposition that since spotted hyenas live in matriarchal packs, they view Harley as the ?pack leader? as opposed to the Joker.
The Babies, of course, serve the role of ?dogs?, or ?fur kids?, rounding out the twisted parody Joker and Harley do of typical relationships. The Babies are not merely guards and protectors, but pets to Joker and Harley. Hyenas are wild animals who hunt as a way of life ? to watch Joker and Harley interact with them as though they are simply dogs, trusting and training them easily, is hilarious and adds the final touch to their dysfunctional relationship.