20 Interesting Facts About Rhinos You Need to Know

Rhino horns are not made of bone but of keratin, the same material that makes up our fingernails.

The name rhinoceros means “horned nose,” and they used to roam North America and Europe before being found only in Asia and Africa today.

There are five different types of rhinos, including the Black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, greater one-horned or Indian rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, and Sumatran rhinoceros.

Read on to discover 20 fascinating facts about these ancient animals.

Rhinos Come in Different Shapes and Sizes

Rhinos can grow to an average height of 6 feet (1.8 meters), about the same as the height of a man. The Sumatran rhino is the shortest and stands at 4’3″ (1.3 meters), while the Indian/greater-one-horned rhino is the heaviest, weighing an incredible 5,000-7,100 lbs (2,500-3,200 kg) – more than an SUV!

The Sumatran rhino is also the “skinniest,” weighing only 1,500 lbs (700 kg).

Humans and Rhinos Share Keratin in Their Bodies

The White rhino usually has the longest horns, with the longest known horn on record being 5 1/2 feet (1.7 meters) long. The Black, White, and Sumatran rhinos have two horns, while the White Indian and Javan have only one. Some Javan Rhino females have no horn at all!

Rhino horns are not made of bone and are not attached to the Rhino’s skull. Instead, they are made of keratin – the same material that makes up our fingernails. Rhino horns are solid and continue to grow throughout a rhino’s lifetime. If a rhino survives a poacher’s attack on its horn, a new one will grow back.

Black Rhinos Are Gray, White Rhinos Aren’t Really White, and Sumatran Rhinos Are Reddish-Brown

The white rhino is not actually white, and its name may have originated from the words “wyd,” “wijd,” or “whyde,” which all mean “wide” in Afrikaans and Dutch. The Black and White rhinos are the same color, while Sumatran rhinos are reddish-brown.

The Greater One-Horned Rhino Is Also Called the “Unicorn Rhino”

The greater one-horned or Indian rhino is nicknamed the “unicorn rhino,” and its skin looks like plated armor. It’s also known as the chubbiest rhino.

Rhino Moms Are Very Protective of Their Babies

A female rhinoceros carries her baby for about 15 to 16 months and is an affectionate and nurturing mother. Like most animal mothers, she is also fiercely protective of her young. Rhino calves remain with their mothers and do not leave until they are three years old.

There are two significant differences between white and black rhinoceroses. White rhinos have a broad, flat mouth with square lips and are referred to as “grazers” as they feed on grass from the ground. Black rhinos are called “browsers” because of their beak-shaped lips, which they use to eat leaves and twigs from trees.

Rhinos are hunted by poachers for their horns, and unfortunately, humans are their only enemy. Rhino horns are sold on the black market for vast sums of money, sometimes more than the price of gold. These horns are used in medicine, and it is wrongly believed that they can help cure sick people in Asia.

Rhinos, zebras, and horses are related and belong to a group of mammals called odd-toed ungulates.

The white rhino is known for having a large head, despite its small brain, weighing over 2,000 lbs (907 kg). Rhinos have poor eyesight and are near-sighted, making it difficult for them to see anything that isn’t right in front of them. They will usually charge at anything or anyone they see suddenly to defend themselves.

Despite their size, rhinos can run or charge at speeds of up to 30 to 40 mph (48 to 64 km/h). Humans, on the other hand, can run about 15 miles per hour, so if you ever encounter a charging rhino, it’s best to head for the nearest tree and climb it.

Rhino skin is thick, but it can still get sunburnt and bitten by insects. This is why they enjoy wallowing in mud, which acts as a natural sunscreen and insect spray.

Rhinos and oxpeckers have a symbiotic relationship, with the bird helping to keep the rhino free of ticks and other insects by feeding on them. The oxpecker also alerts the rhino to danger by making a fuss, and sitting on the rhino’s back helps the bird find food more easily.

Rhinos belong to the group known as a crash, with males called bulls, females called cows, and young referred to as calves. These herbivores feed mainly on plants and fruits, and are the only mammals that can’t jump, alongside elephants and pronghorn sheep. Despite having poor eyesight, rhinos possess a superior sense of smell that enables them to identify each other. World Rhino Day, observed on September 22, helps raise awareness of the plight of rhinos. Sadly, rhinos are facing extinction, with some species such as the Javan and Sumatran rhinos already critically endangered. Rhinos are being killed every 11 hours in Africa for their horns, which are in high demand for traditional medicine in Asia and Vietnam, despite being proven to have no medical benefits. Time is running out to save these gentle herbivores.

FAQ

1. What are the different types of rhinos?

There are five different species of rhinos: white, black, greater one-horned, Javan, and Sumatran. Each species has its own unique characteristics and traits. White rhinos are the largest species and have a square-shaped mouth for grazing on grass, while black rhinos have a prehensile upper lip for browsing on leaves and branches.

2. Why are rhinos poached?

Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal properties in some cultures. Despite there being no scientific evidence to support these claims, the demand for rhino horn remains high. Rhino horn is also valued as a status symbol and is used in traditional ceremonies and as a decorative item.

3. How do rhinos communicate with each other?

Rhinos communicate with each other through a variety of vocalizations, including grunts, snorts, and squeaks. They also use body language, such as head shaking and tail wagging, to communicate with other rhinos. Rhinos have a keen sense of smell and use scent marking to communicate their territory and reproductive status to other rhinos.

4. How fast can a rhino run?

Rhinos are surprisingly fast runners, despite their large size. They can run up to 35 miles per hour for short distances, making them one of the fastest land animals. However, rhinos are not known for their endurance and can only maintain this speed for a short period of time.

5. How do rhinos protect themselves from predators?

Rhinos have thick, tough skin that provides protection from predators. Their horns can also be used to defend themselves against predators, such as lions and hyenas. Rhinos are also known for their aggressive behavior and will charge at anything that they perceive as a threat.

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