The word Rhinoceros comes from two words: rhino which means nose and ceros meaning horn.
Various types of rhinoceros are found viz. white, black, greater one horned, Javan and Sumatran. Black, white and Sumatran Rhinos have two horns where as Javan and one horned rhinos have only one horn.
Among Rhinos White rhinoceros is the largest. They can weight up to 2500 kgs. They are the largest terrestrial animal after Elephants. Javan Rhinos are the smallest among Rhinos. They can reach a maximum of 900 kgs.
They are herbivorous animal. Black rhinos have prehensile upper lip which helps them to grasp grass. A rhino consumes a lot of plant matter like leaves, grass, bushes etc. and in a normal condition produce close to 50 kgs of dung per day. The unique feature of their dung is that the smell of the dung is different for male female and juvenile.
They have a very thick layer (In an average about 1.5 cm) of skin. Despite this huge thickness their skin is relatively very sensitive towards sunburn or insect bites. Sumatran Rhino has long hair through their body whereas all the rest of the rhinos are hairless.
They are not known for their eye sight which is usually very poor. But they compensate that with excellent sense of smell and hearing.
The famous horn of the rhinoceros is made up of hairs and not bones. Rhino calves are born without horns. These horns continue to grow through out their lifetime.
Rhinoceros is a perissodactyle animal i.e. only one toe of their feet has modified to became the hoof. So they are much more closely related to horse and Zebra than many others. To know more about animal classification click here.
Though they appear to be a slow moving animal they can reach a top speed of 60 km per hour. If you want to know about all the animals which have amazing speed check out this article.
Male rhinos are solitary animal whereas the female rhinos are much more social and stay in groups. A group of Rhino is called a Crash. Rhinos have a very long (close to 2 years) gestation period. Only elephants in the animal kingdom have a greater gestation period than rhinos.
They can live for a period of 35 to 40 years.
Due to their large size and aggressive nature not many animals hunt Rhinos. However Lions, Tigers, crocodiles and wild dogs have sometimes preyed on baby or sick rhinoceros but humans are by far the biggest threat to Rhinos. It is believed particularly in Asia that Rhino’s horns have medicinal properties. But there are no evidence of this has been found. Among all the species 3 (black, Sumatran, and Javan) have been registered under critically endangered in IUCN Red list.
As for you all rhino lovers to know September 22 has been celebrated as world rhino day.
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