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The Black Rhinoceros: Bigger than a Truck?

Updated on January 16, 2015

The Endangered Black Rhino: Breaking the Scales at 4,000 Pounds!

The Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) may not look black, and that's because it isn't. It's gray, and hard to differentiate between them and other species of rhinos. Adults weigh a ton...literally. Breaking the scales at a whopping 1760 pounds minimum and typically ranging up to near 4000 pounds, this animal weighs more than some small trucks!

This animal is also highly endangered. Poachers have run this species into extremely low numbers, causing the species to be put on the endangered species list. Why? Poachers want the horn, which to them represents a paycheck, and to the buyer, a status symbol. Learn how you can help the endangered Black Rhinoceros and read up on this beautiful creature right on this page.

What does the Black Rhinoceros Look Like?

Cool facts about the Black Rhino

Rhinos are well known and instanlty recognizable from their large, armor-like body and 2 large horns. There are four subspecies of Black Rhinos. The Western Black Rhino is believed to recently become extinct. Black Rhinos originate from eastern and central Africa including the countries of Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. They are about 10-12 feet long and 5 feet tall on average. Females are smaller than males. Their horns are made of a tough, fiborous protein, keratin, typically found in nails, hair, hooves and claws of animals. Two horns are usually present, however a third smaller horn develops. The largest horn can be 20 inches long.

Black Rhinoceros at Halali Resort, Namibia

Photographic Print

A pointed mouth helps them with their herbivorous lifestyle, gnawing on leaves and twigs and clearing out dense woods, maintaining a grassy environment on the Africa plains. The ultra-thick outside layer of skin protects against thick, sharp grass and brush, and allows it to venture into areas other animals may not have the advantage of a tough skin. They also rely on their sense of smell and hearing much more than their poor eyesight.

How concerned are you about black rhinos becoming extinct?

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Rhino Videos

Seeing these creatures in action will give you a better idea of how big they really are.

They Weight a Ton...or Two

Black Rhinos can weigh near 4000 pounds, that's as much as a small truck!

The Rhino Horn Demand

Poachers selling horn as status symbol

The Black Rhino has long been poached for its horn, tail and other body parts, being commonly used for disproven medicinal benefits. Later, poaching dramatically increased in the 1970s. Why? Oil! The world's dependence on foreign oil allowed poverty-sticken Middle Eastern nations like Yemen to grow exponentially, and became much wealthier per capita. Rhino horn is a coveted prize used for knife handles in Middle Eastern countries. These horns were (and still are) sold for tens of thousand of dollars.

The growing demand for the horns decreased the Black Rhino population to an all-time low count of 2410 in 2004, down from an estimated several hundred thousand in 1900. Between 1970 and 1992, the Black Rhino population decreased 96%. Anti-poaching efforts and laws have been put in place to try to protect all rhinoceros, but it is a task difficult to maintain.

Here's Where you can Help!

Below you will find organizations that help to conserve this dwindling species. Help out the Black Rhinoceros so future generations can enjoy this amazing animal!

Black Rhino Links

Here are two long established organizations, very worth to donate to. Help the black rhino recover!

Thanks for reading! Have something to share about Black Rhinos, or just like the lens? Drop a line here!

Have You Seen the Black Rhino in the Wild, in a Zoo, or in a Book? - What do you think of the poaching of this endangered animal species?

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    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      3 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      The first time I actually saw a video of rhinos. I thought it was a very calm and gentle animal for it's size until I saw the attack on those two men. I still think they are so interesting and it would be sad if they were extinct. Thank you for showing us about rhinos. I voted thumbs up and awesome and interesting.

    • DaphneDL profile image

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      A great article to promote awareness about the black rhino. I really enjoyed the videos you shared. Rhinos in zoos are the only ones I've ever seen and I don't remember even seeing a black rhino there.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We were just in South Africa and saw some of these. It is really becoming a problem as the reserve we were in have to watch their rhinos each night because some rhinos have already been poached in their vicinity. Some have suggested farming rhinos for these markets that just won't believe the researches.

    • oxfordian profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for this. These are really amazing creatures and they need all the help they can get to draw attention to what's happening to them.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      These are amazing creatures. This lens has been blessed and added to my animal alphabet lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Not only balck rhino, more and more other animals become endangered, who should be blamed for that?

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      8 years ago

      Never knew you had this. Yes I have seen them in the wild. Blessed by an Angel.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      8 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      The video that re-enacts the rhino attack is very effective...yikes. I would have been up a tree for sure.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You know, every time I see the black rhino on TV, it makes me wonder why it's not the silver rhino. I know I wouldn't want to come face to face with one of these -- especially weighing upwards of 4000 pounds -- that is incredible!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      9 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      It's such a beautiful prehistoric looking creature. The demand for a rhino horn seems ridiculous to me. It's only beautiful on the animal when it is still alive.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      10 years ago

      I didn't realize the Black Rhino was endangered. I should have. I've never seen one, not even in a zoo.

      Great lens on a worthy cause.

      I would also like to say thank you for your kind comments on my Say Something Nice Lens.



    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L B 

      10 years ago from Covington, LA

      Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens link to the appropriate plexo and vote for it.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 

      10 years ago from Idaho

      Wonderful information on the Black Rhino, I just visited a wildlife safari in Oregon that is heavily involved in helping to save endangered animals. They had two Rhino's there, but honestly I couldn't tell you if they were the Black rhino, they looked fit, and happy! They run loose with the cars, and you get a warning note when you go in "If the rhino's are close, do not stop. We are not responsible for punctured tires or tipped over vehicles!" Great lens! 5 ***** to you! Linda


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