Rhino Facts

1. The name rhinoceros means ‘nose horn’ and is often shortened to rhino.
It comes from the Greek words rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).

2. White rhinoceros are the second largest land mammal
The white rhino is the largest rhino species and can weigh over 3,500 kg and is the largest land mammal after the elephant. Elephants can grow to be 7,000 kg

3. Rhino can grow to over 1.8 meters tall and more than 3,5 meters in length.

4. Three of the five rhinoceros species are listed as being critically endangered.
The Black Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros are all Critically Endangered which means they have 50% chance of becoming extinct in three generations.

5. Rhinoceros have thick, sensitive skin.
Rhino skin maybe thick but it can be quite sensitive to sunburns and insect bites which is why they like wallow so much – when the mud dries it acts as protection from the sunburns and insects.

6. Relative to their large body size, rhinoceros have small brains.
But this doesn’t mean they are stupid

7. Rhinoceros horns are made from a protein called keratin, the same substance that fingernails and hair are made of.
The rhino horn is not bone and is not attached to its skull; it is also not hollow like elephant tusks. It is actually a compacted mass of hairs that continues to grow throughout the animal’s lifetime, just like our own hair and nails.

8. Some rhino use their teeth – not their horns – for defence.
When a greater one-horned rhino is threatened it slashes and gouges with its long, sharp incisors and canine teeth of its lower jaw.

9. Rhinoceros are herbivores (plant eaters).
They have to eat a lot to fill their large bodies

10. A group of rhinoceros is called a ‘herd’ or a ‘crash’.

11. Despite their name, White and Black Rhinoceros are actually gray.
The white rhino's name is taken from the Afrikaans word “weit,” which means “wide” and describes its mouth. Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "weit" for "white". Black rhino probably got their name from the dark wet mud in their wallows that made them appear black in colour. Both species are essentially gray in colour.

12. The closest living rhino “relatives” are tapirs, horses and zebras.
They are part of a group of mammals called odd-toed ungulates.

13. Rhino are speed machines
They can run up to 50 – 60 kilometers per hour; the fastest human can run 25 kilometers an hour, so finding a tree to climb is a better strategy than trying to outrun a rhino!

14. Rhino pregnancies last forever
Or at least it might fee like it, they are pregnant for 15-16 months! Mother rhino are very nurturing. The young stay with them until they are approximately 3 years old.

15. Rhino have poor eyesight, but very well-developed senses of olfaction (smell) and hearing.
A rhino has difficulty detecting someone standing only a hundred feet away if the individual remains still. However, if the person makes the faintest sound or the rhino is able to smell the person, it will easily detect him, even at much greater distances. The olfactory portion is the largest area of the rhino’s brain.

16. Rhino communicate by doing a poo!
Rhino use piles of dung to leave “messages” for other rhino. Each rhino’s smell is unique and identifies its owner. It can also tell a rhino if the other rhino is young/old/male or female. They also tell other rhino that this is their territory.

17. Rhino are over 50 million years.
They haven't changed much since prehistoric times (though of course they tended to be a lot woollier back then!)Some of the first rhino didn’t have horns and once roamed throughout North America and Europe. No rhino species have ever inhabited the South American or Australian continents.

18. What you eat matters
The black rhino has a hooked lip which allows it to feed on trees and shrubs. The white rhino has a long, flat upper lip perfect for grazing on grasses. The upper lips of the three Asian rhino species allow these animals to browse vegetation in tropical forest habitats.