The rhinoceros is one of only a few remaining “megaherbivores”. Five species of rhino are still alive today. The White rhinoceros is one of the African species. It has two horns on its snout. Unlike the horns of cattle, sheep, and antelopes, the horns of the rhino are not made of bone. Instead, the are a lump of keratin fibers.
The White rhino actually has almost the same color skin as the Black rhino. They are probably named after the color of dirt that covers their body. The White rhinoceros has a distinctive hump on the back of its neck that houses the ligament that supports its large head.
The footprint of the rhino resembles an ace of clubs because of its three toes on each foot. The White rhinoceros is also called the Square-lipped rhinoceros because of its broad, flat lip that helps it graze on short grasses.
All rhinoceroses are herbivores, living off of various types of foliage. The White rhinoceros had broad lips that help it take in grass from a large area, allowing to to consume more grass in less time. Rhinos drink water from watering holes almost daily. However, when conditions are dry, they can survive four or five days without water.
The White rhinoceros lives in Northeastern and Southern Africa. Since it lives on grasses, it prefers the savannas.
Rhinoceroses are mostly solitary animals, although a mother will stay near her most recent offspring until the next offspring is born. The White rhinoceros is the most sociable. Immature individuals will form groups, as will mothers without children. This can result in a group of up to 7 rhinoceroses. Males almost always stay by themselves, except for an occasional encounter with a female.
Birth & Offspring
After a gestation period of 16 months, a mother White rhinoceros will give birth to a single calf weighing about 143 pounds. The calf will stay with its mother until her next offspring is born. If threatened, the mother will stand guard over her baby. Otherwise, the infant usually runs ahead of its mother.
Rhinoceroses have very poor eyesight. In fact, they cannot see a person standing motionless if they are more than 100 feet away. Since its eyes are of opposite sides of its head, the rhinoceros must look with one eye at a time to see straight ahead. They can rotate their ears to pick up sounds, resulting in fairly good hearing. However, the rhino most relies on its sense of smell. In fact, the part of the body responsible for smell (the olfactory passages) is larger than its entire brain.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.