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Horse, Rhinos, and Tapirs: the odd-toed hoofed animals

Updated on February 28, 2013
The Horse - the most common Odd-toed Ungulate
The Horse - the most common Odd-toed Ungulate

Perissodactyls

Simply put, the Odd-toed Ungulates (or perissodactyls) are an order of hoofed animals that have an odd number of toes. They are usually large grazers, although some of them are browsers instead.

Although they aren't as common as the Even-toed Ungulates (cattle, deer and camels), they are still some of the best known hoofed animals in the world!

There are three separate families in this order:

Equiidae - the Horses

Rhinocerotidae - The Rhinoceroses

Tapiridae - The Tapirs

Horses

African Wild Ass
African Wild Ass
Przewalski's Horse - the last truly wild horse of Equus callabus
Przewalski's Horse - the last truly wild horse of Equus callabus
Grevyi's Zebra
Grevyi's Zebra

Equidae - The Horses

The horses are large-bodied, long-legged grazers. They are most at home on open prairies, grasslands and savannas. They are generally social animals, and can be seen in very large herds. The Plains Zebra, for instance, lives in some of the largest herds of any mammal!

There are six species of Horse in one Genus:

Equus africanus - The African Wild Ass and it's descendant, the Domestic Donkey

Equus hemionus - The Asian Wild Ass

Equus callabus - The wild horse (essentially extinct) and its descendants, the various breeds of Domestic Horse

Equus quagga - The Plains Zebra - arguably the most numerous wild horse alive

Equus zebra - The Mountain Zebra

Equus grevyi - The Grevy's Zebra - The largest non-domestic horse


Asian Wild Ass

Rhinos

Indian Rhinoceros
Indian Rhinoceros
White Rhinoceros
White Rhinoceros

Rhinocerotidae - The Rhinos

Rhinos are massive herbivores. The largest rhino, the White Rhino, is the second largest land animal on earth. With their short legs, heavy bodies, and nose horns, the rhinos couldn't be more different than their horse relatives!

Five species of rhino exist today - two in Africa, three in Asia. They are generally divided into two categories - the two-horned and the one-horned rhinos.

Two-horned Rhinos:

Ceratotherium simum - The White Rhino of Africa

Diceros bicornis - The Black Rhino of Africa

Dicerorhinus sumatrensis - The Sumatran Rhino - The smallest living Rhino

One-horned Rhinos:

Rhinoceros unicornis - The Indian Rhino - Slightly smaller than the White Rhino

Rhinoceros sondaicus - The Javan Rhino

White Rhino

Tapirs

Baird's Tapir
Baird's Tapir
Malayan Tapir
Malayan Tapir
Mountain Tapir
Mountain Tapir

Tapiridae - The Tapirs

Tapirs are strange Perissodactyls that live in the forests of South America and Malaysia. They are unusual among Odd-toed Ungulates in that they have four toes on their front feet and three on their rear feet. Adding to their unusual appearance is a short trunk growing down from their top jaw.

Although they are heavily built, tapirs are the smallest of the Odd-Toed Ungulates. All four species of tapir are in the same genus:

Tapirus indicus - The Malayan Tapir. The largest of the family, and the only one to live in theEastern Hemisphere

Tapirus pinchaque - The Mountain Tapir. The smallest member of the family

Tapirus terrestris - The Brazilian Tapir

Tapirus bairdii - The Baird's Tapir. The largest mammal in South America

Brazilian Tapir

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