The white rhinoceros, also known as the white rhino, is one of the five species of rhinoceros which exist in the world today. There are basically two subspecies of the white rhino – the Northern white rhino and the Southern white rhino. While the former is severely endangered, with only a few individuals left in captivity, the later continues to be found in abundance in its natural habitat. One of the most interesting white rhino facts is that, it is also known as the Square-lipped rhinoceros owing to its squared off lip, which allows this animal to feed on the short grass in the open Savannas.
White Rhinoceros Habitat and Geographical Distribution
The habitat of the white rhinoceros species is typically characterized by water holes, mud wallows and many trees. While the Northern white rhino population is restricted to the Republic of Congo, the Southern white rhino is found all over southern Africa. Earlier, the Northern white rhinoceros was found in abundance in several parts of Uganda, Chad, Sudan, Central African Republic and Congo. Today, however, it is only found in the in Garamba National Park, in Congo. On the other hand, the major concentration of the Southern white rhino species is seen in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda, which together house 98.5 percent of the population.
White Rhino Facts
The white rhino is second largest land mammal on the Earth. An adult white rhino can attain an average length of 3.4 to 4.2 meters, and a shoulder height ranging between 4 ft 10 inches to 6 ft 3 inches A full grown white rhino can weigh anywhere between 3,000 to 8,000 lbs. Given below are more of such white rhinoceros facts, which are bound to leave you amazed.
- A white rhino has two horns, made of keratin, on its head. Among these horns, the horn located in the front is larger.
- The feet of the white rhino species are stumpy, and typically characterized by three toes on each.
- Being a herbivorous grazer in nature, the white rhinoceros diet predominantly consists of the grass growing in the Savannas.
- White rhinos have an amazing ability of using their ears independently, similar to the ability of a chameleon to use its eyes independently.
- As far as the white rhinoceros life cycle is concerned, mating in this species goes round the year, with the peak phase between February to June, and the female gives birth to a calf after 470 to 490 days of gestation.
Although it is named white rhino, it is not white in color. Both the subspecies of the white rhino are actually gray in color. The name white rhino can be traced to the mistranslation from Dutch to English. The Dutch word ‘wijd‘, meaning ‘wide’ in English, was used to refer to the width of the mouth of this species.
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Other than these white rhino facts, you also need to know about the threat of poaching looming on these creatures. The white rhino species have been subjected to excessive poaching over the last few decades, mainly for their keratin horns, which have a huge demand in the international market owing to their alleged medicinal and ornamental value. Incessant poaching, and lack of the efforts on the part of the administration, has brought the Northern white rhino on the verge of extinction. Even though the Southern white species has been enlisted as the ‘Not Threatened’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the large scale poaching of this species is bound to cause its population to dwindle sooner or later.