- A-Z Animals
The rhinoceros, commonly simplified to rhino, is one of the largest odd-toed ungulates living today. They are easily recognizable from their horn, the number of which varies from species to species, and their thick, hairless skin.
Rhinos are a common target of illegal hunting and poaching for their horn, which is believed to have medicinal value in some parts of the world, but no such property has yet been found to exist.
There are 5 species of rhinoceros found at present. Though they all have a close resemblance in physical features, they do have some visible differences. Several rhinos became extinct long ago, most notably the wooly rhinoceros, which went extinct 14,000 years ago due to changing climates.
Size: Length: 7-15 ft (2.4-4.6 m)
The smallest rhino is the Sumatran rhino between 7 ft 10 in – 10 ft 6 in in length, while the white rhinoceros is the largest ranging between 11–15 ft.
Weight: 1500-7100 lb. (700-3200 kg)
The lightest is the Sumatran rhino at 1500 lb, while the heaviest is the Indian rhino at 4200-7100 lbs.
Horn: The number of horns a rhino can have depends on the species, with the Indian and Javan rhinos having a single horn, while the other three have two horns, a large protruding horn, and a smaller, knob-like horn closer to its eyes.
Body and Coloration: The general body type of all rhinos is a stout one, with four short, stubby legs. Its thick skin is hairless and folded and has a small tail with a tuft of hair on end.
The color ranges from yellowish-brown to slate gray. For instance, both the black and white rhinoceros are actually gray, despite what their names imply.
Two rhino species live in Africa, while the other three reside in Asia. They can currently be found in Borneo and Sumatra, Namibia, the Eastern Himalayas, and Coastal East Africa.
Their habitats include tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands, tropical moist forests, and deserts.
The average lifespan of all rhino species ranges from 35-50 years.
Rhinos tend to be browsers and grazers, feeding on bushes, grass, shrubs, and the bark of certain trees.
Adult rhinos have almost no predators. But younger rhinos, or calves, are often preyed upon by big cats, lions in Africa and tigers in Asia, and also by crocodiles, hyenas, leopards, or wild dogs on occasion.
Males fight among themselves to decide who gets to mate with a female rhino in heat. After a long, and sometimes dangerous, courtship ritual, the two begin to copulate. The process is similar to other large mammals, with the male mounting the female from behind.
After a long gestation period of 15-18 months, a single calf is born (twins are rare). The calf is 21 inches tall and doesn’t have a horn at birth, but slowly grows one after a couple of months. The calves stay with their mother until 4 years at a time, unless the mother becomes pregnant and gives birth to a new calf which then takes priority.
Female rhinos reach sexual maturity around 3 years, but males aren’t ready for breeding until around 7.
As per the IUCN, the black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinoceros are “Critically Endangered” or “CR”, the Indian rhino is “Vulnerable” or “VU”, and the white rhino is “Near Threatened” or “NT”. There are believed to be around 27,000 rhinos left in the world today, with most of them living in nature preserves and national parks. They are mostly at risk from poachers who trade in their horns illegally.
A group of rhinos is collectively called a crash.
Despite preconceived notions, there is no evidence of rhinos putting out fires by trampling them.
There are several differences between the two, such as the elephant living in herds instead of the solitary nature of the rhino and the rhino being able to run faster than an elephant.
No, hippos are closer in relation to cetaceans, while rhinos are more related to, though very distantly, horses.
If rhinos lose their horn naturally, they can grow it back, but if it is cut off by poachers the re-growth of the horn is compromised.
They are the largest hoofed animals that are found in the present day.
The rhinoceros originated from the tribe Dicerotini, which first appeared about 14.2 million years ago.
They are quiet animals but occasionally make grunts and trumpet-like calls when angry.