Name: the name rhino – or rhinoceros – can refer to five distinct species: the white rhino (Ceratotherium simum), black rhino (Diceros bicornis), Indian rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), and the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).
Appearance: rhinos are easily recognised by their distinctive horns. The type and number of horns differ across species. White and black rhinos have two horns, with the larger front horn sometimes reaching up to 1.5 m long. The Sumatran rhino also has two horns although they are smaller, reaching up to 80 cm long. While the Indian and Javan rhinos only have one smaller horn that can reach around 60 cm long.
Size: rhinos are some of the largest remaining megafauna, with all of the five species able to reach up to a tonne in weight. The largest species is the white rhino which measures up to 4.6 metres long and can weigh over 2.4 tonnes. By contrast, the smallest species is the Sumatran rhino which reaches 3.2 metres and weighs up to a tonne.
Diet: they mostly eat leaves and plants. Interestingly, the two African species (white and black rhinos) don’t have any front teeth so use their lips to grab food.
Did you know: rhinos have a long relationship with humans – with images of them being painted on the walls of the Chauvet Cave in France around 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. In Asia, there are legends of rhinos appearing to stamp out fires at night. A darker side of the relationship is the ongoing demand by some humans for their horns which are used for ornaments or in traditional medicines. By weight, rhino horn can cost as much as gold. Because of this demand, black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos are now critically endangered.
Location: white and black rhinos are found across sub-Saharan Africa while the other rhino species are all found in India and South-East Asia.
Where TO SEE rhinos
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see rhinos in the following places:
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Photo credit: Pexels under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay