Thursday, 22 September 2016

Awesome facts about Rhinos

Source: Animilia Life


           Kingdom: Animalia

           Class: Mammalia

           Order: Perissodactyla

           Family: Rhinocerotidae


Source: Rhinoink
           There are five species of rhino and 11 subspecies of rhino: three are from southern Asia (Indian (greater one-horned), Javan and Sumatran Rhinoceros) and two are from Africa (Black and White Rhinoceros).

           White rhinos: Ceratotherium simum (southern white rhinoceros), Ceratotherium cottoni (northern white rhinoceros). IUCN lists these as subspecies of Ceratotherium simum.

           Black rhinos: Diceros bicornis.

Subspecies: Diceros bicornis bicornis, Diceros bicornis brucii, Diceros bicornis chobiensis, Diceros bicornis ladoensis, Diceros bicornis longipes, Diceros bicornis michaeli, Diceros bicornis minor, Diceros bicornis occidentalis.

           Sumatran rhinos: Dicerorhinus sumatrensis.

Subspecies: Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrisoni, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis sumatransis.

           Javan rhinos: Rhinoceros unicornis.

           Greater one-horned rhinos: Rhinoceros sondaicus.

Subspecies: Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus, Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis, Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus.
Source: Wikipedia

Current estimated populations for each species are:

           White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum): 20,165

           Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis): 4,880

           Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): 3,624

           Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis): 140 - 210

           Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus): 35 - 45


The name rhinoceros means ‘nose horn’. It comes from the Greek words rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).


           A group of rhinoceros is called a ‘herd’ or a ‘crash’.

           Rhino species go back at least 50 million years. Some of the world’s first rhinos didn’t have horns and roamed through North America and Europe.

           They have a lifespan of about 35 to 40 years.

           They have an extended “vocabulary” of snorts, grunts, growls, squeaks, and bellows.

           The largest rhino species is the white rhino and is the second largest land mammal after the elephant. Adult males weighing up to a massive 3.6 tons.

           The average rhino measures about 60 inches at the shoulder and can weigh form 1 to 2 tons.

           The smallest rhino species is the Sumatran rhino.

           Rhinos are odd-toed (three toes) ungulates, which mean they are mammals that have hooves.

           Rhinos are more closely related to horses than hippos.

           The rhino has a symbiotic relationship (where two animals work together to help each other) with oxpecker. It picks parasitic ticks out of the rhino’s skin. It even creates a commotion when it senses danger which then alerts the rhino. The bird also screech loudly when humans approach.

           For all its bulk, the rhino is very agile and can quickly turn in a small space. Rhinos can run about 40 miles per hour and only run on their toes.

           Relative to their large body size, rhinoceros have small brains.

           Rhinoceros have thick, sensitive skin due to sunburns and insect bites.

           Rhinos have poor eyesight (they will sometimes charge without an apparent reason), but very well-developed senses of olfaction (smell) and hearing. They find each other by following the trail of scent they leave behind on the landscape.

           A rhino finds it difficult to detect someone standing only a hundred feet away if the individual remains still. But if that person makes the faintest sound or the rhino is able to smell the person, it will certainly detect him, even at a far distance.

           They have specialised upper lips, which is prehensile (capable of grasping). It is adapted for feeding from shrubs which it strips the leaves and shoots from.

           Their horns can grow as much as three inches (eight centimetres) a year.

           Rhinoceros horns are made from a protein called keratin. It is the same substance that fingernails and hair are made of. Strong mineral deposits run up the core of a rhino's horn, similarly like a stick through a popsicle.

           Black rhinos, white rhinos and Sumatran rhinos have two horns. Javan rhinos and greater one-horned rhinos have one.

           They use their horns in battles for territory or females, and to defend themselves from lions, tigers and hyenas.

           Specifically, females use their horns to protect their young, while males use them to battle attackers.

           They can’t sweat and will roll in mud or dust to keep it cool as well as provide them with a protective coating of mud against biting insects.

           Females use their horns to protect their young, while males use them to battle attackers.

           Rhinos can grow to over 6 feet tall and more than 11 feet in length.

           The difference in lip shape of the black and white rhino is related to their diets.

 Habitat and Range

Rhinos are found in parts of Africa and Asia. Their preferred habitat varies, from savannas to dense forests in tropical and subtropical regions. Black and white rhinos are found primarily in the southern and eastern countries of Africa. The white rhino’s habitat is the grassland and open savanna. The black rhino lives mainly in areas with dense, woody vegetation.

Sumatran rhinos are found only in small areas of Malaysian and Indonesian swamps and rain forests. Javan rhinos were once found in a number of Asian countries. But they only live in Indonesia and Vietnam nowadays. 

The Indian rhino (Greater one-horned rhino) once roamed across most of the Indian subcontinent, but today is only found in in the swamps and rain forests of northern India and southern Nepal. 

Rhinos live in home ranges that occasionally overlap. Feeding grounds, water holes and wallows (water where rhinos wallow in the mud) are frequently shared.

No known rhino species have ever inhabited the South American or Australian continents.

They are herbivores (consume vegetation only). They need to have a tremendous amount to fill their large bodies. They need to live within 5 km of water as they need to drink water daily. In dry conditions they will dig for water using their forefeet. As a result of the structure of their mouths, they can’t easily graze compared to other animals. Instead, they tear up and eat clumps of long grasses. Their snouts are differently shaped to accommodate dissimilar types of food. For example, black rhinos mostly eat trees or bushes as their long lips enable them to pick leaves and fruit from up high. White rhinos have flat, square-shaped snouts and are ideally suited to graze on grass.


           They are territorial animals. They use scent as a signal, spraying urine along paths and using communal dung heaps to mark their territory.

           Rhinos make use of dung piles or middens and scrapes (spray-urination sites). The middens are used by more than one rhino and by both black and white rhino.

           A dominant male rule over an area of land but the male will allow some sub-dominate males to live on his territory. Females roam freely around several different territories.

           Though rhinos are often solitary, they do occasionally form groups.

           Rhinos are ill-tempered especially when they are constantly disturbed.

           Rhinos communicate with squeaks, snorts and grunts (and poop).

           When rhinos are happy, they make a loud "mmwonk" sound with their mouths.

           When rhinos spend time with their young and other rhinos, their behaviour is more gentle and playful.

           Rhinos spend their days and nights grazing and only sleep during the hottest parts of the day.

           Under the hot African sun, white rhinos take cover by lying in the shade.

           Rhinos are also wallowers: When they aren't eating, they find a suitable water hole and enjoy a cooling mud soak. Rhinos rely on mud to protect their skin from biting pests and the blistering sun.

           Rhino use their horns for self-defence and attacking opponents or predators. When attacking, the rhino lowers its head, snorts, breaks into a gallop reaching speeds of 30 miles an hour, and gores or strikes powerful blows with its horns.

           Some rhinos use their teeth – not their horns – for defence.


           A breeding ritual is undertaken by the male rhino to attract a female: He brushes his horn over the ground, charge at bushes, rushes back and forth and frequently sprays urine. They usually fight during courtship, sometimes leading to serious wounds inflicted by their horns. A female frequently, and aggressively, reject them but then later succumbs. After mating, the pair goes their separate ways.

           They mate at any time of the year.

           Every two and a half to five years, a female rhino will reproduce.

           Female rhinos carry their young for a gestation period of 15 to 16 months. 

           They usually have one calf. Sometimes they have twins.

           They can actually walk 10 minutes after they are born.  

           At birth, they are quite big, at 88 to 140 lbs (40 to 64 kg).

           Although they nurse for a year, calves are able to begin eating vegetation one week after birth.

           The closest rhino relationship is between a female and her calf. Mother rhinos are very nurturing but will protect their calves fiercely and will keep it hidden for a couple of weeks due to the fear of being trampled on.

           The young stay with them until they are approximately 3 years old.

           As they mature, it may leave its mother and join other females and their young, where it is tolerated for some time before living completely on its own.


           A spotted hyena and lions are serious threats.

           Loss of habitat has also played a significant role in decreasing rhino population numbers.

           But human beings are the deadliest of all. Rhinos rank among the most endangered species on Earth and are threatened to extinction due to poaching. They are killed for their horns, which are sold in the illegal wildlife trade.

           For the Sumatran rhino in particular, over-hunting has occurred for such a long time that the remaining population is broken into disconnected groups, unable to breed and to continue adding to the species genetic diversity.

           Three of the five rhinoceros species are listed as being critically endangered (the list's highest risk category). These are Black, Javan and Sumatran Rhinoceros. They have a 50% chance of becoming extinct in three generations.


           Even though conservation has been successful, a lot can still be done to ultimately bring back the Rhino population to what it once was so that they can thrive and avoid being lost forever.

Here is a closer look at the five Rhino species:
Source: Rhinosourcecenter
White Rhinoceros

Source: Wikipedia
           The white rhino’s name comes from the Dutch word “weit” which means wide and is talking about their wide, square muzzle. The name of the white rhino is sometimes said to be a corruption of the Dutch word “wijd” but nobody really knows where the names come from.

           They are also the largest land mammal after the elephant. 

           They are the largest rhino species and can weigh over 3500 kg (7700 lb). It grows to 12 to 13 feet (3.7 to 4 meters) long and up to 6 feet (1.8 m) from hoof to shoulder. It weighs around 5,000 lbs. (2,300 kilograms). A white rhino can stand 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh almost 8 thousand pounds or the same as 50 average-sized men. The white rhino grows to 1.8m and weighs over two tons.

           White rhinoceroses are grey.

           White rhinos live on Africa's grassy plains.

           They are the most abundant rhino species. But about 11,000 white rhinos survive in the wild, and many organizations are working to protect this much loved animal. The white rhino once roamed much of sub-Saharan Africa, but today is on the verge of extinction due to poaching.

           White rhinos are "near threatened," which means they may be considered threatened by extinction in the near future.

           Southern white rhinos have an increasing population; there are 20,405 southern white rhinos. However, the northern white rhino is considered "extinct" in the wild.

           The white rhino has a wide mouth. It has a squared lip. The white rhino has a long, flat upper lip perfect for grazing on grasses. They mainly eat grass and can even eat plants that are toxic to other animals. White rhinos graze on grasses, walking with their enormous heads and squared lips lowered to the ground.

           White rhino have long necks and wide mouths for eating grass.

           They have two horns on their head. The longer horn sits on top of the nose. A white rhino's horns are slightly smaller than a black rhino’s. The foremost more prominent than the other.

           The prominent horn for which rhinos are so well known has been their downfall. Many animals have been killed for this hard, hair-like growth

           White rhino tends to be much more social and lives in groups as many as a dozen individuals. They live in extended family groups, particularly females and their calves, and can sometimes be seen in large numbers.

           Females reproduce only every two and a half to five years. Their single calf does not live on its own until it is about three years old.

           White rhino groups stand in a circle facing outwards to form a barricade with calves near the centre.

Black Rhinoceros

Source: Animalspot
           The Black Rhino is also called the Hook-lipped Rhinoceros.

           They are grey. Interestingly, they frequently assume the colour of the local soil in which they wallow.

           Adults roam within specific areas, called home ranges or territories.

           They are solitary animals and usually live by itself except for females and their offspring.

           Black rhino are shy, keeping to thicker bushy areas.

           They are active mainly at night.

           Black rhinos feed at night and during the dawn and dusk. They do more of their feeding and drinking during the cool hours of the night than during the day.

           Under the hot African sun, they take cover by lying in the shade.

           The black rhino has a pointed upper lip.

           They have short necks and hooked lips which make browsing branches easier.

           It has a hooked lip which allows it to feed on trees and shrubs. 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.

           They are browsers, using their pointed upper lips like a miniature elephant trunk to twist off low-growing branches of trees and shrubs. 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.

           They eat woody trees, shrubs and herbs.

           They must drink at least every two to three days. If succulent plants form a large part of their diet, they can go without drinking for longer.

           It’s the most aggressive species of its family.

           Despite their enormous bulk, they can charge at great speeds of 50km per hour. Black rhino are the fastest kind of rhino with a top speed of 55km/ hour.

           They stop growing when they are about seven years old. 

           They have two horns. The foremost more prominent than the other.

           The front horn can grow to 20 to 51 inches (51 to 130 centimeters), while the rear horn can grow to about 20 inches.

           The longer horn sits on top of the nose.

           Black rhino grow to 1.6m tall, weigh up to 1 400kg.

           Black rhinos fight each other and have the highest rate of death among mammals in fights among the same species. Fifty per cent of males and 30% of females die from these intra-species fights.

           Females reproduce only every two and a half to five years. Their single calf does not live on its own until it is about three years old.

           They use a variety of sounds to convey emotion: snorts for anger, huffs for greetings and even confused squeaks. They also leave behind piles of pungent droppings to mark territory.

           They are sometimes bad-tempered, but are actually just shy and inquisitive. They will run towards anything unusual in their surroundings, but usually run away if they smell humans.

           Some individual rhinos are very nervous and a female with a calf will charge anything she considers a potential threat.

           The black rhino once roamed most of sub-Saharan Africa, but today is on the verge of extinction due to poaching.


Source: Rainforest Alliance

           They are also known as the Sunda Rhino or the lesser one-horned rhino.

           It is the world’s rarest land mammal.

           The Javan Rhino is only found in the lowland tropical rainforests of one location in the world, the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. 

           It used to roam all over Asia from northern India, through to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and another Indonesian island, Sumatra.

           They are herbivores (only eat vegetation). They eat a huge variety of different leaves, young shoots and twigs that grow in unshaded areas and they eat a lot of it.

           It is estimated that they eat up to 50kg (110lb) every day.

           It has a pointed upper lip that helps it to grab food.

           They have a single horn measuring up to 20 cm long.

           The Rhino uses its horn to scrape mud from the sides of wallows, to get food from plants and to protect its head when travelling through thick vegetation.

           If the horn breaks off it will just grow back.

           They are smaller than the Indian Rhino but still weigh about 1.5- 2.3 tonnes.

           They have grey or grey- brown skins with thick folds, making them appear like they are wearing armour for battle. But, as they spend the day bathing in mud holes most of the time their skin will appear black.

           The Javan Rhino is a shy animal.

           Instead of sound, the Javan Rhino communicates with the sense of smell using dung heaps and urine spraying. Sometimes, they drag the dung with their hind foot for several meters.  They us their dung and urine to communicate instead of sound.

           Pregnancy of a Javan Rhino lasts between 16-19 months.

           Sadly, these ancient beasts are becoming ever so rare with only 60 individuals left in the wild.

           In the wild they can live up to 35-40 years.

           They are classified as Critically Endangered.


Source: WWF
           The Sumatran Rhino is also known as Hairy Rhino or Asian Two-Horned Rhino.

           The remaining populations can be found in the hilly areas of tropical rainforests on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Kalimantan province of Borneo.

           They used to roam parts of Asia from India to Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and the Indonesian islands, Java and Borneo.

           It is the smallest and the hairiest of the of the rhino family.

           They weigh approximately 800 kg (1760lbs) which is less than half of the African Rhino and only grow to around 1.5 meters (5 feet). It grows to 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 m) long and up to 4.8 feet (1.5 m) from hoof to shoulder. It weighs around 1,765 lbs. (800 kg).

           Usually, their reddish-brown skin is covered in patches of short, dark coarse hair with longer, thicker hair around their ears and tail.

           It is the only Asian rhino that has two horns.

           The larger horn known as the “nasal” or “anterior” horn grows from the nose, measuring between 15 - 25 cm (5.9 - 9.8 in). The other, much smaller horn is located between the eyes called the “posterior” horn only measuring about 10cm (3.9 inches). a Sumatran rhinos horns are about 10 to 31 inches (25 to 79 cm) for the front and less than 3 inches (7 cm) for the rear.

           Their horns help them to pull down vegetation to eat and for scraping mud from the sides of wallows.  They will eat leaves, twigs, bark and fruit, but they have also a bit of a sweet tooth for mangos and figs.

           They are solitary and territorial animals. Males will claim up to 5000 hectares as home turf, sometimes overlapping territory with females, who claim 1000-1500 hectares.

           To avoid bumping into each other they will mark their territory with dung and urine, and by scraping the ground with their feet.

           They can live for up to 30-40 years in the wild, but as they are so rare this is only an estimate.

           Sumatran Rhinos will only give birth to one calf at a time. In the wild, Sumatran Rhinos can give birth every 3-4 years but in captivity it is very rare.

           Calves will stay with their mothers for 16- 17 months. Sometimes, after leaving their mothers, young Sumatran Rhinos will join together before braving the solo lifestyle.

           The Sumatran Rhino is Critically Endangered. However, like its cousins, the Black Rhino and the Javan Rhino, they have been aggressively poached for their horn putting their survival at risk.

           The Sumatran Rhino has been roaming planet Earth longer than any other living mammal, but time is running out for these ancient creatures.

           They are most active at dawn and dusk, during their meal times.

           After a long hard feeding session, they will spend most of their time relaxing in mud baths.

           They bathe for between 80 and 300 minutes every day! This mud wallowing is an essential pastime as if it helps them keep cool and protects their skin from diseases and insects.

           Their favourite pastime is wallowing in mud baths where they relax for up to 300 minutes per day!

           Fewer than 250 are left in the wild.

           The Sumatran rhino is the closest living relative of the ancient woolly rhino.

Greater one-horned Rhino
Source: WWF
           The greater one-horned rhino's horn is 8 to 24 inches (20 to 61 cm).

           When a greater one-horned rhino is threatened it slashes and gouges with its long, sharp incisors and canine teeth of its lower jaw.

           The greatest concentrations or densities are in India’s Kaziranga National Park, where visitors can typically see more than a dozen individuals at one time and as many as 50 in a single day! 

           They are vulnerable as they may become endangered unless circumstances improve.

           The total population estimate in 2007 was 2,575 individuals, according to the IUCN.

           Fortunately, their population is increasing; there are 3,333 greater one-horned rhinos in the world.