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Interesting Facts About The Rhinoceros

Updated on August 7, 2013
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Rhinoceros is one of the most commonly sought after zoo animals worldwide. This mammal attracts thousands of yearly visitors and receives great attention from kids due to their unique horn and size. In fact, the most distinct and impressive feature of rhinos is their horn that sits on top of their nose. Rhinoceros are commonly found in the wild and are native habitants of Southeast Asia and Africa. There are various species of rhinos and each of these has their specific characteristics - black, white, greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran rhinos.

African Rhinoceros

African rhinoceros have two different species and these are the white and black rhino. Compared to white rhinos, black rhinos are more belligerent. Black rhinoceros or Diceros bicornis have distinguishable features from white rhinos. Black rhinos have prehensile and narrow lip that helps them feed on leaves and shrubs. This species is commonly seen in arid, dry areas filled with trees where they can hide at the same time. Black rhinos are further sub-grouped to South-western, South-central, West and East African. The weight is between 800 and 1,350 kilograms with a height of about 4.5 to 5.5 feet. Black rhinos do not have strong eyesight but with good sense of hearing and olfactory perception. They come with two horns and the larger one measuring 50 centimeters.

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Ceratotherium species, on the other hand, is normally found in woodland habitats in Africa, such as Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda. These are brownish gray and its lip form is helpful for effective grazing. White rhinos are sub-categorized further to Northern and Southern White rhinoceros, of which, the former is the endangered sub-species. Their built is heavy with a weight that ranges from 1,800 to 2,700 kilograms and a height of between 5 and 6 feet. White rhinos have two horns with an inner horn that is shorter and an outer horn that measures an average of 89 centimeters.

Javan Rhinoceros

This species of rhinos can be found in Southeast Asian rainforests, particularly in Vietnam and Indonesia, and are the most endangered species of rhinos. Javan rhinoceros feed on fruits, shoots and leaves of trees. The average weight of an adult is at 900 to 2,300 kilograms with a horn that measures 25 centimeters and a height of 5 to 5.5 feet. This species is calm in nature and they prefer to stay isolated. Javan rhinos have a single horn that is made from keratin fibers. The gestation period for Javan rhinos are 16 months and after birth, the calf stays with the mother for at least 2 years. In terms of territories, male Javan rhinoceros normally leave dung piles or twisted saplings, spray urine or scrape the ground in order to mark their territory.

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Other Interesting Facts

- White rhinos are actually gray in color.

- The horns of rhinoceros are made of a certain type of protein, which is known as keratin.

- The horn of the rhinoceros is being sought after for medicinal purposes, particularly for Chinese medicine.

- A female rhino can bear a child and give birth to it once every three years and its calf suckle from it for about one year.

- Rhinos have unique skin layers that are approximately 1.5 to 5 centimeters think and are formed with layers of collagen.

- The average life span of any rhino specie is about 35 to 40 years.

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- Aside from the African rhino, the Sumatran rhino is also a species of Asian rhino. This species is the smallest and hairiest, and is one of the most endangered animals worldwide.

- The adult rhino does not normally prey on other animals. However, crocodiles are known as the most common predators of young rhinos or calves. Humans, on the other hand, are considered its greatest predator due to the continuous poaching that causes the decline of rhino population.

- In India, a sanctuary known as Kaziranga National Park hosts about 2/3 of the total world population of great one-horned rhinos.

Large-scale poaching is the major threat for the population of rhinoceros worldwide. As mentioned, Javan rhinos are being hunted for their horn, as it can be used for medicinal purposes. Because of this, the number of this species continues to drop down in the wild. Apart from that, habitat loss is another problem for rhinos and this too is triggered by humans. However, there are some government and non-government organizations that are working together in order to stop the hunting of rhinos and to restore their natural habitat in order to save this species

White Rhino

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