Africa Guide

Rhinoceros

Introduction to the Rhinoceros

Description and Characteristics
The are two types of Rhino found in Africa - the Black Rhino and the White Rhino. Black Rhinos are more rare than White Rhino

The white rhino has a more prominent square lip, are larger than black rhino and are not as aggressive as black rhinos. Black Rhinos have a pointed mouth with a hooked lip. Black and White Rhinos are grey in colour.

Both the black and white Rhino have two horns, the longer of which is in the from. They are made of keratin which is the same material as hooves, fingernails and hair. The horns grow out of the skin.

Rhinos survival is severely threatened by the demand for their horns
In the 1970's Arabian countries used them in production of dagger handles. There is a high demand from Asia for rhino horn for use in traditional medicine (the horn is just hair and has no medical benefit!) and ornamental carvings.

Feeding/drinking Habits
White Rhinos are grass eaters (grazers), Black Rhinos are browsers, eating a large variety of vegetation, including leaves, buds and shoots of plants, bushes and trees.

Habitat
Black rhinos have various habitats, but are mainly found in areas with dense, woody vegetation. White rhinos live in savannah's with close access to waterholes, mud wallows and shady trees.

Size and Lifespan
The white rhino is larger and heavier than the black rhino.
White Rhino weighing 1,800 - 2,700 kg. Height: 5 - 6 ft (1.5 - 1.8 m) tall at shoulder, Length: 12.5-15 ft (3.8-5m) length of head and body
Black Rhino weighing 800 - 1,350 kg, Height: 4.5 - 5.5 ft (1.4 - 1.7 m) tall at shoulder. Length: 10- 12.5 ft (3.0-3.8m) length of head and body

The white rhino lives to about 50 years and the black rhino about 30-35 years in the wild and 35-45+ years in captivity

Reproduction
White Rhino: Gestation period is approximately 16 months with a birth interval of 1 calf every 2 to 3 years .

Black Rhino: Gestation period is approximately 15 to 16 months. Birth intervals of a single calf, every 2.5 to 4 years.

A calf will remain with her mother for 2-4 years

Predators and Threats
Man has been the main predator of the Rhino - poaching them for their horns. Efforts are ongoing to save the rhino from extinction.

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