Rhinos are one of the most majestic creatures of the animal kingdom. They are massive in size, and look prehistoric, almost as if we are looking at dinosaurs in real time. But just like dinos, their species is one of the most endangered on the planet.
Let’s look at 20 fun facts about Rhinos.
1. 5 kinds of Rhinos
Two of these are native to Africa named as the white rhinoceros and the black rhinoceros. While the other three are native to Asia – the Indian rhino, Sumatran rhino and Javan rhino. The black, Javan and Sumatran rhinos are listed among the critically endangered species.
2. Their name is literal
Their name comes from the Greek word Rhino which means nose and Ceros that is horn. The horn is something that makes the rhino different and that is how it’s named after this significant feature.
3. Great athletes
Though they are bulky in size, they are not at all slow. A black rhino can run at the speed of 30 miles per hour. Also they are quite agile, and can dodge trees and branches in thick bushes and turn rapidly too.
4. 15-16 months pregnancy
That’s right! A rhino pregnancy lasts more than a year and a half. Rhinos only give birth to one calf in an entire year, and the babies do not get to meet their fathers. Once the male and female rhinos mate, they separate and then later the female rhino raises their young one.
5. Infrasonic frequencies for communication
We humans have never heard the rhinos talking and that’s because they communicate through infrasonic frequencies, just like the elephants.These sounds are below the human threshold of hearing. Scientists say that this technique has been adapted because they inhabit dense vegetation and use it to attract partners for breeding.
6. Extremely sensitive skin
Living in the hottest and sunniest regions, yet their skin isn’t that well equipped to handle it. They can get a sunburn easily and are also susceptible to bad bug bites. To save themselves from this, they often take mud baths to put a protective layer between their skin and the sun and pester bugs.
7. Huge amount of excreta
They can produce about 50 pounds of dung a day, according to the international Rhino foundation. This dung is also useful in marking their territory as each rhino’s excreta has a unique smell, and male rhinos utilize it to keep others off their area.
8. Not all Rhinos use horns for fighting
The three species namely Sumatran, Javan and Indian use their lower outer incisor teeth instead of their horns for fighting. The Indian rhino has a teeth of 5 inches in length, which would leave a nasty mark if used for a fight with other rhino or predators.
9. Herbivores animal
Looking at their gigantic size you feel that they are big meat eaters. But actually they are purely vegetarians that can eat up to 100 pounds of food a day. They enjoy munching on leaves, fruits, grasses, stems and twigs.
10. Crash – a group of Rhinos
Quite often they love to live in solitude and pretty much avoid one another. But the white rhino can live in a group known as a “crash”. This includes females and her calves, although sometimes other adult females hang in a crash too.
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11. Rhino horns are made of keratin
Though they look tough on the outside, they are actually made up of protein keratin- which is the same material that makes up human hair and fingernails. The longest measured rhino horn is 60 inches, according to the International Rhino Foundation.
12. Medicinal use of horns
Asian doctors have been using powdered rhino horns for medicinal use for centuries. The powder is used to cure asthma, chest cold, arthritis, chicken pox, coughs, diphtheria and convulsions etc.
13. Close relatives of tapirs, horses and zebra
They are popularly known as odd toed ungulates or perissodactyls. These include cattle, deer, goat, sheep, camels, Llamas and pigs. Rhinos too have three toes on each of their feet so, their tracks are quite similar to the Ace of clubs.
14. White rhinos aren’t white and black ones aren’t black
The name of the white rhino is taken from the Afrikaans word ‘wyd’, which actually means wide, that is something that describes their mouth. And the black rhinos got their name from the dark wet mud in their wallows which makes them look black in colour. But actually both white and black rhinos are grey in colour.
15. Rhino enemies
Though humans top the list, there are other predators too. Like leopards, hyenas, wild dogs and Nile crocodiles which are well known to kill the African rhino calves on various occasions.
16. Rhino and elephants are not enemies
This myth has been believed since the ancient times. But the king Manuel I of Portugal decided to test on whether it is true or not. He brought the two species under one setting and found out that this was not true.
17. Largest Rhino – White Rhino
It is the largest land mammal after elephant. The white rhino has the capacity to grow up to a weight of 5,000 pounds which is similar to a land rover rolling along on the Serengeti.
18. Most famous Rhino – Clara
During the 1700s, Clara, a female Indian rhino, toured Europe for 17 years. Her mother was hunted and killed by hunters in Assam, India in the year 1738, and then Clara was adopted by Jay Albert Sichterman who kept her as a household pet.
19. Rhino calves never meet father
After the mating process, the male and female rhinos go their separate ways. After birth the calves would spend it’s time with the mother and other female rhinos and their babies but the father is not a part of this social group.
20. World Rhino day
It is celebrated on September 22nd each year. People come up with ways to protect the species and spread the message among others.
The more we are getting educated, the more we are harming our own planet. Poaching has become a sophisticated game. People use helicopters to track the rhino and once the animal is shot with guns and tranquilizing darts, their horn is removed and immediately airlifted away. This whole process takes less than 10 minutes. This certainly will make the species a part of history just like the Dinosaurs.
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