Rhinoceros. Interesting Facts About Rhinos. Diet, Horns & Conservation Factors

Rhinoceros are one of the biggest land animals next to Elephants and Hippos. Much of the other species and subspecies that are related to rhinos have since gone extinct and some species are left with only a handful of animals.

In this blog article, we’ll look at all the interesting facts about how rhinos eat, produce and the serious factors about their conservation and the relationship of their horns with illegal wildlife trade.

What does Rhinoceros mean?

The name rhinoceros is very literal. Based on the slightly curved horns on the front of its face, it is name is derived from two Greek words that describe how they look; rhino meaning nose and cerus meaning horn. Concerning its most significant feature.

How many kinds of rhinos exist?

There are five different kinds of rhinos in the world, especially in Africa and Asia. Africa – White and Black rhino. Asia – Javan, Sumatran, Indian rhino

Where do Rhinos Live?

Africa and Asia

Why Are they poached?

In Asia, rhino horns are used for medicinal purposes. It is assumed to have curing powers for diseases like arthritis, asthma, chickenpox, and convulsions among others. Worldwide, the rhino horn trade has been declared illegal by the ‘Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora’.Humans are the biggest threat to the survival of this endangered species, selling off their horns for personal gain.

Can a Rhino live without the horn?

Yes. If the horn is removed in a safe way that doesn’t hurt it and leave it bleeding out to death.

Rhino vs Hippo vs Elephant

Rhino Conservation

Black, Sumatran and Javan rhinos are considered by the IUCN as ‘critically endangered’ which is the highest category. Javan rhinos are estimated to be 50-70, Black rhinos at 5,000 Sumatran rhinos at 80 the white rhinos at 2,000. This roughly puts the number at 29,000 rhinos in the entire world.

What Rhinos eat

It is a herbivore. Irrespective of their massive bodies, rhinos do not feed on animals or any meat products. They solely feed on plants, bushes, trees and grasses

Are Rhinos social?

In general, the rhino is an anti-social animal. Barely spend time with each other unless they mate and go their separate ways after. Baby rhinos normally never know who the father is.

Some species, for example, the white rhino can be found living together. This is called a ‘crash’. A crash is normally composed of a Female and her calves. On rare occasions, two female white rhinos can be seen together

Male rhinos are territorial. They do this by marking their preferred space by scattering their dung as well as urinating in the nearby bushes.

One interesting fact is the symbiotic relationship between the African rhino and a bird called the ‘oxpecker’. The oxpeckers are constantly on the backs of the rhino eating off insects and bugs. The relationship is two-way; when the bird is startled by any danger, the rhino is alerted and seeks shelter.

Rhino Horn

The rhino horn is made of ‘keratin’. This is the same type of component found in human hair and fingernails. The core of the horns has a huge amount of calcium and melanin making the horn stronger and protected from the sun’s rays.

Life expectancy

In the wild, a rhino can live up to 45 years. The gestation period of the rhino is 15-16 months. The mother rhino only gives birth to 1 baby and stays nurturing them until maturity. At birth, the calf weighs about 40 – 64 kg.

Young ones

The calf will be mature enough to be on its own by 3 years old.

Rhino Skin

The rhino skin is about 1.5 to 5 cm thick. On a strong sunny day, the rhino will chill in a pool of mud to help cool off its body or sleep under a shade. The mud is used to protect their bodies (natural sunblock) and keep bugs and insects from biting them

How fast is a rhino

Despite its big size and heavyweight body, the rhino can run super fast. It can run up to 30 miles per hour.

Weight and Size

It is considered the second-largest land animal following the African and Asian elephants. The White rhino is especially the heaviest possibly growing up to be 6,000 pounds (2,500 kgs). Standing between 5 – 6 feet tall, the head alone can be estimated at 2,000 pounds.

Black vs White Rhino

Despite being called white rhinos, the skin of the white rhino is grey.

Predators in the Wild

Adult rhinos generally don’t have any predators except for humans. This is because they are strong and fast enough to protect themselves against any wild animals. Young ones do however face a threat of crocodiles, big cat predators like lions, hyenas and African wild dogs.

Which Rhinos are found in Uganda

White Rhinos

Where can I find Rhinos in Uganda

At Ziwa Rhino sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

In Uganda, Rhinos became extinct in the turbulent 1970s and 1980s. In 2005, New rhinos were reintroduced into the country and their population has steadily grown to more than 20 animals currently.

How do Rhinos communicate?

Rhinos use vocal sounds to communicate with each other. The sounds are snorts, moos, growls and squeals. The screaming sound is used to indicate sudden terror and to let other animals know of any impending danger.

They use body language too like flattening their ears to ward off animals, rubbing sides with each other to show affection as well as shooting their ears up out of curiosity.

Irrespective of the size of the head, a rhino’s brain is very small.

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