The peculiar rhinoceroses are enormous and stocky wild animals; they are differentiated by their characteristic and unique horn in their muzzle, which, depending on their species, can be only one or even two horns of different sizes. Also, the rhinoceros is one of the largest land animals on the planet.
Introduction to rhinos
The rhinoceros is an animal with a singular aspect, which you will not easily confuse; they are big and with a thick grey skin covering them. There are five species of rhinoceroses at the moment, and three of them are at high risk of extinction. Their numbers continue to decline, as humans continue to destroy their environment and continue to hunt them for their horns.
A fully grown adult rhinoceros can weigh more than 1 ton. Their offspring weigh about 88 to 140 pounds at birth, quite large compared to the offspring of other animals.
Young rhinoceroses grow fast, which helps increase their chances of survival. These animals have no problem at all with predators in the wild, they have been known to kill humans by hunting them, or they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rhinoceroses do not have very good eyesight, and they find it difficult to distinguish what is going on. Hence, they tend to attack to defend themselves.
These animals tend to live alone because they are aggressive by nature. However, the white rhino species seem to be more social than others. These animals have a protective effect on their environment, and the females are especially protective of their young. After mating, they will give birth in a period of 14 to 18 months, then take excellent care of them and teach them how to survive in the wild for 2 – 4 years. There are some significant differences in size and physical characteristics between the different rhino species. By comparing them, you will be able to notice both these differences and their similarities.
The rhinoceros is a twilight animal and will, therefore, feed during sunrise and sunset. During the heat of the day, it will often seek out shady areas where it can stay cool. When the sun goes down, it will once again begin to search for food. The fact that they cannot see well in the dark does not interrupt their ability to search for food during the night.
Despite the conservation efforts being made by different organizations, it may be too late for many of the rhino species, and only time will tell if we can get their numbers to increase as we need them not to be just a part of the past. On average, a rhino can live for 60 years in the wild. However, they must have their natural habitat and plenty of food for this to happen.
Even with laws in place to protect the rhino from being hunted, hunting continues because of the trade in the horns of these animals. Part of the success of protecting these animals is based on increased vigilance and significant fines and jail sentences for those involved in these practices.
It is believed that the rhino population has been depleted by more than 90% in the last 30 years, and they are considered among the animals most at risk of complete extinction today. The cost of conservation efforts is too high, and protecting the natural habitat of these animals is difficult because humans continue to limit the areas where rhinos were able to feed in the past.
Frequently Asked Questions about Rhinoceroses
Below we will answer some of the questions we most often ask about these wild animals:
How and when do rhinos sleep?
Rhinos sleep standing up or lying down and can do so up to 8 hours a day, at intervals. They can be found sleeping under a tree on a hot day. When they take a deep sleep, they lie down with their legs slightly curved to one side.
How do rhinos stay fresh?
During the heat of the day, the rhinos will rest in the shade or find mud formations. The mud not only cools them but also protects the skin from parasites and the sun. Rhinos tend to move around more often at night when it is more relaxed and more bearable. They also drink water whenever possible.
What is the horn of a rhinoceros made of, and why is it in such demand?
Rhino horn is made of keratin (the same material as nails, claws, and hooves). Horn is sought after for its supposed medicinal purposes. In Yemen, the horn is used for dagger handles that are given to young boys who are reaching adulthood.
What are the differences between black and white rhinos?
There is no difference in color between the two species. The name of the white rhino comes from the description of its mouth, “wide” in English, similar to “white” in white. The white rhino is a grass eater, and the black rhino is a root eater, hence the shape of its mouths. There is also a difference in size, with the white rhino being the larger of the two.
What are the reasons for the continuing decline in the rhino population?
Its horn is very expensive on the black market, and it is supposed to have medicinal properties. This belief is widespread in Far Eastern countries, like China.
The growing human population is reducing its natural habitat. The land is used for agriculture and roads, forests are being cut down for hardwood.
Poaching is a grave threat and also continues to intensify.
How thick is the skin of a rhinoceros?
In the thinnest parts, the skin of a rhinoceros is 18-20 mm thick. In some parts, such as the shoulders of the white rhinoceros, the skin can be at least 45 mm thick.
Is the rhino an aggressive animal?
The rhino will always be seen as an aggressive animal. Their behavior, when approached by men, may vary, but can often be interpreted as aggression.
Do rhinos have teeth?
All rhinoceroses, both those from Asia and Africa, have teeth on the sides of their jaws, called premolars and molars. Asian rhinoceros species also have well-developed front teeth. The incisors of the Indian rhinoceros are its primary means of defense, much more dangerous than the horn in the nose.
Why do rhinos have horns?
The horns are very well developed in the two rhino species in Africa (black and white). However, they are much smaller in the three species in Asia (Sumatra with 2 tiny horns, Indian and Java, with one horn). The Asian species certainly do not use their horns to fight or defend themselves, and they use their incisors (sharp front teeth for that purpose). Their horns have evolved into a general function of impressing members of the opposite sex. The horns are also used for digging and finding water, or for pulling up bushes.