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White Rhino

Fact File

Continent: Africa
Habitat: Primarily grassland
Weight and Length: 2.3/1.7 tonnes (male/female), 3.85/3.5m (male/female)
HERBIVORE
Diet: Herbivore
Gestation: 515 days
Number of Young: 1

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Characteristics

  • Are the second largest land mammal.
  • Are very agile and can run up to 40km an hour for short bursts.
  • Make many sounds, from roars and squeals to bleats.
  • Have poor eyesight / but acute sense of hearing and smell.
  • Horns grow from the skin and consist of compressed strands of keratin (like nail fibres). They grow continuously and if broken away will grow back.
  • Often bathe in mud to cool, remove parasites and also
    offers sun protection.
  • Home ranges vary in size from 0.75 – 8.5 square km.
  • Mark their territories by spreading dung, spraying urine,
    dragging their feet, and damaging plants with their horns.

White Rhinoceros

Ceratotherium simum simum

Animals, Mammals, Perissodactyla (Odd toed hoofed ungulates), Rhinoceroses


White rhinoceroses are the largest extant (non-extinct) rhinos in the world. Their name is a misnomer, as they are a very similar colour (grey) to black rhinos, but instead were likely named “wijd” rhinos. “Wijd” means “wide” in dutch and would have referred to their wide lips that they use for eating grass. Black rhinos may have simply been named after the opposite colour, and have pointed small lips.

They have a relatively complex social system, with groups of up to 14 individuals, mostly females and calves. Males have 1-3 km squared territories that they protect and scent mark, while females may range over 6-20 km squared. They avoid the hottest parts of the day by resting in shade, and can potentially live for up to 40 years.

They are classified as “near threatened” due to uncontrolled hunting. In the past, they were extensively hunted for sport. Rhinos are actually easy targets as they aren’t very aggressive and live in herds. However, much of the hunting in modern times is due to the popularity of rhino horn. The horn is used in eastern medicine, but even though scientists have found it has no benefits it is in increasing demand as eastern populations rise and become more wealthy.

Habitat: Open woodland with nearby open grassland, thick brush and water. Prefer flatlands and can occasionally be found in swampy regions.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 2.3 tonnes (males), 1.7 tonnes (females)
–Average length: 3.85m (males), 3.5m (females)

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to:  35 years
In captivity up to: 50 years

Diet: Plant eater. White rhinos are grazers and eat grasses.


Distribution: Southern Africa and Kenya.