The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast.
Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros. – Ogden Nash, American writer
Rhinoceroses, or rhinos, are one of the most sought-after animals in zoos, all over the world. Rhinos attract thousands of visitors yearly, receiving the greatest attention from children who are awed by their size and unique horn. In fact, the most impressive and distinct feature of the rhino is its horn that sits atop its nose, much like a unicorn from the fables. The rhino gets its name from its horn; its name’s origin being from, rhino, a Greek word that stands for ‘nose’, and ceros, which means ‘horns’. In the wild, they are mostly found in Africa and Southeast Asia. Given below are some interesting rhinoceros facts.
Quick Facts about Rhinoceros
There are different varieties of rhinos and each having its specific characteristics. They are white rhino, black rhino, greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino and Javan rhino. The greater one-horned rhino has a single horn and is found in northern India and southern Nepal. Sumatran rhinos have two horns, and are called as hairy rhinos. Let’s take a look at the African and Javan rhinoceros facts here.
African Rhinoceros Facts
The African rhinoceros includes two species, namely black rhinos and white rhinos. The black rhinos are more belligerent, than the white rhinos. Given below are some facts about these two species.
Black Rhinoceros Facts
The black rhinos, or Diceros bicorni species, are named ‘black’, and have distinguishable features from the white rhinos. In comparison to the white rhinos, the black rhinos have narrow and prehensile lip form that helps them in feeding on shrubs and leaves. They are mostly seen in dry, arid areas with lots of trees, where they can also hide. The black rhino is further sub-grouped into South-central, South-western, East African and West African. The weight of the male and the female black rhino ranges from 800 to 1,350 kg and have a height of 4.5-5.5 ft. Black rhinos do not have a very strong eyesight, but they have good olfactory perception and sense of hearing. They have two horns, with the outer one being larger and measuring 50 cm.
White Rhinoceros Facts
White rhinos, or Ceratotherium simum species, are found in the woodland habitats of Africa, such as Kenya, Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Contrary to its name, the white rhino is actually brownish gray in color. Its name ‘white’ comes as a misinterpretation of weit, an Afrikaans word meaning ‘wide’. The lip form of the animal, helps it in grazing effectively. The white rhino is further sub-categorized into Southern and Northern White rhinos, of which, the latter is an endangered sub-species. White rhinos are heavily built with weight ranging from 1,800-2,700 kg. The height of the white rhino is 5-6 ft. They have two horns, with the outer horn measuring over 89 cm on an average, larger than the inner one. The offsprings are protected by the mothers, up to three years. Read more on white rhinoceros.
Javan Rhinoceros Facts
Javan rhinos, or Rhinoceros sondaicus species, are found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, mostly in Indonesia and Vietnam. They were first found in Java Islands of Indonesia and hence, the name. The Javan rhino is, by far, the most endangered of all rhino species. They feed on leaves, fruits and shoots of the trees. An average adult can weigh around 900-2,300 kg and its horn measures 25 cm. The height of the Javan rhinos is 5-5.5 ft. They are tranquil by nature and prefer staying isolated. Javan rhinos have a single horn, which is made up of keratin fibers. There are, altogether, sixty species of Javan rhinos prevalent in South-east Asia.
Rhinoceros Facts for Kids
- The white rhino is wrongly called ‘white’, as its color is actually gray.
- The material that makes the rhino’s unique horn is a protein called keratin, which is present in human hair and nails.
- Rhino’s horn is hugely sought-after, as it is used in traditional Chinese medicines.
- The mother rhino gives birth, only once in three years. The rhino calf suckles from its mother for at least one year.
- The rhinoceros has a unique thick layer of skin, which has a thickness of 1.5-5 cm and is formed of layers of collagen.
- Other than the African rhino, the Sumatran rhino is another species of the Asian rhino, which is one of the most endangered animals. It is the hairiest and smallest of all the rhinos.
- The average life span of a rhino is thirty-five to forty years.An adult rhino does not usually fall prey to other animals. Crocodiles are the most common predators of young rhino calves.
- One of the important rhinoceros facts being that human beings are, by far, the greatest predators of wild rhinos. Continued poaching habits have endangered quite a few of their species.
- Kaziranga National Park, a rhino sanctuary in India, hosts about two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinos.
These are some of the facts about the rhinoceros that will help you to understand their habitat and their nature. Being solitary and protective by nature, they use their horns to defend their territories. It is believed that rhino horns have potential to cure food poisoning. Hope you’ve found these rhinoceros facts interesting to read!