Javan rhinoceroses are rhinos that had a historical range across Java, Sumatra, Southeast Asia, all the way through China into India. The current range, however, is only in a protected area in western Java. They are the second largest mammal in Indonesia after the Asian elephant.
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Javan Rhinoceros Scientific Classification
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Table of Contents
Size: These rhinos are around 10-12 feet in length and 4.6-5.6 ft in height.
Weight: They weigh between 1,982 and 3,083 lbs.
Horn length: Their horns are made up of the same material as human fingernails, and can grow to a length of 10 inches.
Color: Their body is a hazy grey with a mosaicked appearance. The skin looks like it is armor-plated.
Sexual Dimorphism: Only male rhinos have horns.
The Javan rhinoceros had three subspecies, of which only one remains extant now:
- The Indonesian Javan rhinoceros ( s. sondaicus) is the nominate subspecies and the only one that survives.
- The Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros ( s. annamiticus) had a range across Vietnam, South China, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The last individual was killed in 2010.
- The ndian Javan rhinoceros or Lesser Indian rhinoceros had a range once from Bengal to Myanmar. It went extinct before 1925.
They can only be found in the Ujung Kulon National Park on Java’s western tip.
They inhabit thick, low-lying, tropical rainforests. They are fond of places with lots of water and mud wallows.
- They are solitary other than mothers with their calves and breeding pairs. They may also gather around mud wallows and salt licks.
- They spend much of their time wallowing in mud, as this allows them to cool their body temperatures as well as to keep parasitic infections and other diseases in check.
- They have well-marked individual territories. Males have larger territories than females. They mark their zones by urine-spraying and dung-dropping.
Diet: What do they eat
Being browsing herbivores, they are known to feed on plant material like twigs, shoots, young leaves, and fruits. It is thought that they eat approximately 110 pounds of food per day.
Mating & Reproduction
The reproduction rate for Javan rhinos is slow, usually every 4-5 years. There is no fixed breeding season, and the gestation period is around 15-16 months after which a single calf is born.
The offspring becomes mobile shortly after birth. It stays with its mother and is eventually weaned after a year or two. Female Javan rhinoceroses reach sexual maturity after 5-7 years of age, while males take longer, around 10 years.
These rhinos live for around 30-45 years.
Sounds & Vocalizations
There are limited studies on the sounds made by Javan rhinos, but it is thought that they are much quieter than their nearby cousins, the Indian and Sumatran Rhinoceroses.
- They use their horns to enlarge pre-existing mud pits.
- The armor-like skin ensures that they do not have any natural predators.
- They have a prehensile upper lip that aids in browsing.
- Since they lack good eyesight, their sense of smell and hearing are exceptional.
- Despite their size and mass, the strong legs can help them run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (42 kilometers per hour).
The massive herbivores do not have any natural predators in the wild.
IUCN Conservation Status
The IUCN lists the Javan rhinoceros under their ‘Critically Endangered’ category.
Why are Javan rhinoceros endangered and what is being done to protect them
These rhinos are one of the rarest mammals on earth, with an estimated population of 68 individuals remaining in the wild. The species has been poached to near extinction for centuries for their horns, which are used in eastern medicine. The national park the population currently thrives in is a protected area, and hunting rhinos is illegal.
- The Javan rhino is one of two rhinoceros species with a single horn, the other being the Indian rhinoceros.
- Each surviving individual in the wild has its name.