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Rhinoceros Facts

The rhinoceros has been on the earth for over fifty million years, and there has been very little that has changed in size and structure.

There are 5 different species of rhinoceros 

  • White rhinos 
  • Black rhinos  
  • Javan rhinos 
  • Indian rhinos
  • Sumatran rhinos

Rhinoceros Facts for kids

  • Their most famous feature is their horns. 
  • Black and white rhinos are actually the same color
  • A rhinoceros name is taken from Greek Rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).
  • The Rhino can grow up to 6 feet in height and 11 feet in length. 
  • While its body is huge, its brain is small
  • A group of rhinoceros is called a herd, or a crash

Different Types of Rhinos

White Rhino

Black and white rhinos are actually gray, despite their names.

They derived its name from the Afrikaans word ‘wyd’. regarding its wide, square lip. English explorers mistook this word for white and referred to this species as a ‘white’ rhino.

They’re the second largest land mammal after elephants.

Male white rhinoceros can grow as high as 1.8 m (5.9 ft) and weigh around 2,500 kg (5,500 lbs). Despite their large size, they are super fast and reach speeds of  25 miles per hour for short periods.

They do not eat meat but mainly graze on grass.

Black Rhino

Black rhinoceros have poor eyesight but exceptional hearing. Their cone-shaped ears can hear the tiniest of sounds. Their super-strong sense of smell allows them to pick up on the scent of predators.

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Most black rhinos live in East Africa, in Tanzania. They live for about 35 to 50 years.

Black rhinoceros are endangered, they are most likely to be poached or killed for their rhino horn. Conservation groups around the world are helping to save these amazing vulnerable animals.

Javan Rhino

Only 67 Javan rhinos remain in the world. Sadly, these rare rhinos have become critically endangered. Today they are only found in Ujung Kulon National Park in southwest Java, Indonesia.

Rhino poaching wiped out the species in Vietnam because of the excessive demand for rhino horns and medicine.

In the wild, they live about 30 to 45 years. They’re big animals, weighing 2.3 tonnes.

Plants are the only food they eat.

They are a solitary animal, unless mating or when mothers have young.

They are Indonesia’s second-largest animal after the Asian elephant.

The males mark their territories with dung

Indian Rhino

The Indian rhinoceros can grow up to 10 – 12 feet in length and weigh up to 4,900 pounds.

They have brownish-gray skin with folds that appear armor-like. Wart-like bumps cover shoulders and legs. Their horn is made of keratin, just like human hair and nails.

They are active early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

Grass, leaves, aquatic plants, and various crops make up most of its diet.

Sumatran Rhino

A Sumatran rhinoceros has two horns and is the smallest Asian rhinoceros. 

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest rhinoceros species; their hair is short and dark. The mud caked to his body cools his skin and protects him from insects.

Sumatran rhinos live in tropical forests, both lowland, and highland. They are well adapted to living in very dense tropical forests. Generally, they like to eat shrubs, fruits, shoots, and leaves.

These animals are solitary creatures and are territorial in nature.

Female rhino claim 1000-1500 hectares of territory, while males claim up to 5000 hectares.

They mark their territory with dung, urine, and by scraping with their feet.

They only give birth to one calf at a time. Sumatran rhinos give birth every 3-4 years in the wild but rarely in captivity.

What do rhinos eat?  

They are herbivores. They eat leaves, branches, shoots, bushes, and fruit.

How fast can rhinos charge?

They can travel as fast as 55 kph. Black rhinos are very courageous and will charge at anything that suddenly scares them.

What is a group of rhinos called?

An entire herd is called a “crash.”

How much do rhinos weigh?

Usually, adults weigh between 800 and 1400 kilograms.

Do all rhinos have two horns?

Only the black, white and Sumatran rhino has two horns. The Javan and Indian rhinos have only one.

How long is a rhino’s horn?

Front horns typically measure 50cm, but some can reach 140cm.

Are all rhinos grey?

Rhinoceroses are all grey. It may have been mistranslated from the Dutch word for wide (‘wijd’) in white rhino.

Where do rhinos live?

They live in grassland, bushes, and scrub.

How long is a rhino pregnant for?

Their gestation period is 15 to 16 months.

How many babies does a rhino have?  

The rhino has only one calf.

What is a midden?

A midden is a heap of rhino poo.

Fun facts about rhinoceros:

  • The closest relatives to the rhinoceros are the zebra, horse, and tapirs. They are part of the mammal group referred to as ‘odd-toed ungulates.
  • Poaching in South Africa threatens to erase rhino conservation success.
  • The baby rhino, known as a calf, is enormous at birth and can weigh 88 to 140 lbs.
  • There are actually 5 different rhinoceros species and they live in areas from Africa to southern Asia: White Rhinoceros, Black Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros, Indian Rhinoceros, and the Sumatran Rhinoceros.
  • The second-largest land animal in the world is the White rhinoceros, with growth to 7,700 lbs. (3,500 kg). Rhinos can grow to eleven feet long and over six feet tall.
  • Many cultures place value on the horn of the rhinoceros and therefore they have hunted them down to very low numbers, just to get their horns. 3 of the 5 species of rhinos are now listed on the ‘critically endangered species list, given them a 50% chance of extinction within 3 generations: The Sumatran, Javan, and Black Rhinoceros.
  • The horn of the rhino is not made of bone but is actually made from the same type of substance that hair and fingernails are made of: keratin.
  • The horn is made of a mass of compacted hairs and is not attached to the skull. It will continue to grow all through the rhino’s life.
  • The longest horn on record was found on a Black rhino: 4’9” in length. The average horn size is about 20” long for a Black rhinoceros.
  • The skin of the rhinoceros is very thick and yet it is also very sensitive. They are easily affected by insects and the sun and must always soak in the mud for protection.
  • They have large bodies but comparatively small brain sizes. However, they are not stupid.
  • They are plant eaters (herbivores) and graze a lot each day to get enough nutrients for their bodies.

They are known for their very bad eyesight, but they have compensated with an excellent sense of smell.

The rhinoceros should not be underestimated for their speed. They can run at thirty to forty mph. Compare that to humans, who run at 15 mph.