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About Rhino

These brilliant beasts are known for their awesome, giant horns that grow from their snouts – hence the name “rhinoceros’, meaning “nose horn”. Javan and Indian rhinos have one horn, whereas the White, Black and Sumatran rhinos have two.

These incredible creatures are some of the biggest animals in world! The largest of the five species is the white rhino, which can grow to 1.8m tall and weighs a massive 2,500kg – that’s the weight of 30 men!

Despite their huge size and strength, these bulky beasts don’t prey on other animals for food. They’re herbivores, and instead like to munch on lots of grass and plants at night, dawn and dusk.

During the heat of the day, they can be found sleeping in the shade or wallowing in muddy pools to cool off. Mud protects their skin from the strong sun and wards off biting bugs.

For the most part, rhinoceroses are solitary animals butt some species, particularly the white rhino, may live in a group, known as a ‘crash’. These crashes are usually made up of a female and her calves, although sometimes adult females (called cows) can be seen together, too.

Males (called ‘bulls’), on the other hand, like to be left alone, unless in search of a female to breed with. They’re very territorial and mark their territory by dragging their feet through their dung, scattering it all over the place and by urinating on to bushes. Interestingly, rhinos often use pongy piles to communicate with each other, since each individual’s dung smells unique.

Rhinos are often seen with Oxpeckers (or ‘tick birds’) perched on their back, which live off the pesky parasitic insects living in the rhino’s thick skin. The birds’ loud cries also help alert their big buddies of potential danger, too!

Because of their huge bodies, strong horns and thick, armour-like skin, rhinos do not have many natural predators. Lions, however, are a predator of rhinoceroses, even though they rarely attack adults.

Some weak, injured, and old rhino adults have reportedly been killed by lions, but rhino calves are the main targets.

Humans are the main predator to Rhinos and are hunted and killed for their horns.

Rhinos are generally gentle and keep to themselves, but they are not pacifists. If they are threatened or feel threatened, they’ll move their bodies into an attack stance and often charge to get rid of the perceived threat.

The difference between the Black and White Rhino is their upper lip. The black rhino has a hooked lip while the white rhino has a square lip. In addition, white rhinos have a longer skull, a less defined forehead and a more obvious shoulder hump.

Black Rhino are rarer than the White Rhino, although Black rhino are ‘critically endangered’ with 3,142 mature individuals left. White rhinos are ‘near threatened’ with an estimated 10,082 mature individuals left.

The White Rhino gets its name from the Afrikaan’s wor “wyd” meaning wide – describing its mouth. Early English settlers misinterpreted the “wyd” for “white”.

Despite their name, black rhinos aren’t black – they’re grey. The species probably derives its name as a distinction from the white rhino and/or from the dark-coloured local soil that covers its skin after wallowing in mud.

Black rhinos are browsers that get most of their sustenance from eating trees and bushes. They use their lips to pluck leaves and fruit from the branches. White rhinos graze on grasses, walking with their enormous heads and squared lips lowered to the ground.

Did you know? A rhino’s horn is made from the same stuff as our fingernails.

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