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White Rhinoceros

Updated on February 25, 2016

Scientific Name: Ceratotherium simum

Description

 The White Rhinoceros is the one that most people are very familiar with. The information that circulates about it tells us it is the second largest animal in the world. They can be up to 8,000 pounds in size. The females are often smaller but they are still very large. The range of weight can vary too as some are only about 3,000 pounds. The color can be a shade of white or it can also be a light gray.

The males can be as long as 14 feet and the females are about 11 feet long. This is a huge animal that certainly gets attention! They also feature a lip that is square rather than being round like other species of the Rhinoceros.

Anatomy

 Many people assume that an animal this size won’t be able to move well but it does. They have amazing speed and agility. The legs are short but stocky and have lots of endurance for holding up the rest of the body. They also have a hump on the back area that helps to support the enormous size of the head. With two large horns on top of the head they are remarkable looking animals. The horn in front is the one that will be the largest in size.

If you take a look at their feet you will notice that they have three toes on each. This is a way for them to keep their balance and to freely move around in their environment. They have very large nasal passages so they can rely on smells to help them stay safe and to find food. They also have ears that can move independently and that allows them to pick up sounds. They don’t have good vision at all so they need better senses in other areas to help them survive.

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Evolution

 Hopefully the ideas about evolution and the White Rhinoceros can assist us with helping one subspecies to survive. They have a count of only 6 females and 1 male. He is no longer able to breed but experts are trying to find a way to use DNA and evolution information to create new offspring before it is too late.

Based on fossils that have been studied the White Rhinoceros once had a head that was much larger than it is now. Some believe this would make the Rhinoceros very similar to the look of early dinosaurs. Approximately 7 million years ago these animals divided from the other species of Rhinoceros out there.

Behavior

 Of all Rhinoceros in the world this one is more social. They seem to enjoy being around each other, especially the females. While many of the males are still individualistic they seem to be more tolerant of others that overlap in their same home range. This isn’t to say that these animals can’t be aggressive to each other though. The males will fight with each other when they want to mate with females. All of them will fight too when it comes to a lack of food to go around.

Typically the White Rhinoceros isn’t going to attack when it feels a threat in the environment. Instead it will retreat to a safe location. This is one of the reasons that it has been easy for hunters to kill them for their horns. However, there are times when this animal will be aggressive and charge at anything it deems as being something that could harm it or the young it is trying to protect.

White Rhinoceros Video

Habitat and Distribution

 You will only find the White Rhinoceros living in the wild around Africa. There were once high numbers in Namibia but today they are very low. In areas of Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe you will find them spread out in various locations. They always live in areas where they can find access to both food and to water supplies.

Almost all of the species of Rhinoceros in the zoos today are of the White Rhinoceros species. Since they are less aggressive it is safer for those that visit the zoo as well as those that care for the animals. They seem to be better when it comes to adapting to such an environment. Reproduction efforts in most zoo settings have also been successful with them.

Diet and Feeding Habits

 
The life of the White Rhinoceros is one where they spend more than half of the day getting food. They are slow eaters and move along consuming the shorter grains out there. They will leave the taller items for other animals unless that is all they can come by. With an eating pattern that includes consuming more than 100 pounds of food every day they need plenty of room to roam to search for it.

These animals also consume water a couple of times per day. While they can go for as many as five days without water they aren’t going to do so unless they have to. Since it may be a few days before they get water again they will certainly drink it when they can.

Reproduction

 Males are ready for mating around 10 years of age but due to the fight with older ones may not get to do so for much longer. The females are ready to mate as early as 6 years of age. She isn’t always responsive to mating efforts but will be forced into it by a male that can stop her from leaving an area or eating until she does.

The courtship of the White Rhinoceros is one that is defined by male domination. He may stay around for a period of time that lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Mating will occur several times during this period of time. The female will give birth anywhere from 16 to 18 months in the future.
A baby White Rhinoceros can weigh from 88 to 130 pounds. They are very strong at birth and will soon be following the mother everywhere she goes. They will remain with her for several years and create a strong bond. The are excellent caregivers and will defend them to the death. It is possible for a White Rhinoceros to live for up to 50 years in the wild.

White Rhinoceros Video

Predators

 Humans are the only real threat to the White Rhinoceros. They are so large and powerful that other animals around them aren’t going to mess with them. Sometimes a baby Rhinoceros will fall victim to large cats or wild dogs but not typically. Due to the desire of the Asians and Chinese to use the White Rhinoceros horns for making medicine they have been heavily hunted.

Even with protective efforts in place it has merely resulted in poaching taking place. It has also significantly increased the amount of money that someone can get for the sell of these horns. There are thrill seeking hunters too that pay for the chance to go into Africa and kill one of the largest animals they will ever see.

The White Rhinoceros is hard to protect every with laws in place. There isn’t the manpower of the money for the government of Africa to do much to prevent villagers from making money through poaching or guiding hunters into the areas where these animals live.

Comments

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  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Wonderfully and informatively written. Thank you.

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