Rhinoceros simply means nose-horned, which is now one of the most extant species of animals on earth now. Two of the major species of rhinos are from African and three from Southern Asia.
In this article, we are trying to enumerate some of the top Rhinoceros facts one should know about rhinoceros.
Facts about rhinos
- The Greek words ‘rhino’ means nose and ‘ceros’ means horn, which combines to form the word rhinoceros.
- Rhinoceros family is the largest among the remaining megafauna and all existing species of its reach to more than a ton in weight.
- Rhinos take the only herbivorous diet.
- They feature very small brains compared to other mammals of their size, 400–600 grams only.
- Groups formed by rhinos are called ‘crash.’
- The five extant species of rhinos are:
- White rhinoceros
- Black rhinoceros (both from Africa) and
- Indian rhinoceros
- Javan rhinoceros and
- Sumatran rhinoceros (found in Asia).
- The name white rhino was derived not because it’s white, but from the Dutch word ‘wijd’ which means wide, referring to the wide mouth of these species. Black rhino was termed to distinguish this species from the white.
- Javan, Sumatran, and black rhinos are primarily browsers, which wrap the upper lip around twigs and leaves while foraging. On the other hand, Indian and white rhinoceros are found to be grazers.
- Rhinos are considered to be in the group of animals named Perissodactyla, the odd-toed ungulates.
- There are now only three extant animal species falling into the Perissodactyla group as Equidae (horse, zebra ass), Rhinocerotidae (rhinos), and Tapiridae (tapirs).
- A grown-up rhino may have about 24 to 34 teeth based on the species.
- The precious rhino horns are made of keratin substance, the same element which makes up our nails and hair. Even though it is used in some traditional Chinese medicines, it is found that rhino horn doesn’t have any real medicinal properties.
- Rhinos have an excellent hearing ability and also have an excellent sense of smell. However, their eyesight is very poor. The may find it difficult to spot objects which are more than 30 meters away.
- Rhinos love to do wallowing. They cover themselves in mud and then let it dry. This helps them to protect their thick skin from the sun. Rhinos rub their bodies on rocks or tree trunks to remove ticks which may come with the mud they apply to skin.
- The gestation period of the rhino is between 15 to 16 months and usually gives birth to only one calf or sometimes twins.
Lately, rhinoceros are killed in huge numbers by humans to take their horns, which are sold on the black market for huge prices. Vietnam and other East Asian countries are the largest markets of rhinoceros horns. People in Asia grind up rhino horns and then consume them by believing that it has some therapeutic properties in the treatment of itching to cancer. African species and Sumatran rhinoceros feature two horns while the other species have only one.