Did you know?

  • The word rhinoceros comes from Greek, with rhino meaning nose and ceros meaning horn.
  • There are five species of rhino in the world; 2 in Africa and 3 in Asia. But in the past there were many more species.
  • The group ‘rhinos’ have been around for more than 30 million years.
  • Rhino horn is made up of keratin, similar to hair and nails. It is constantly growing and the curved shape of the horn is the result of rhino rubbing their horn against objects such as trees or rocks as well as UV exposure.
  • The closest living relatives to rhino are tapirs, horses and zebras – all known as perissodactyls or odd-toed ungulates.
  • The woolly rhinoceros only went extinct 10,000 years ago and its thought it was due to culmination of hunting by man and climate change.
  • The woolly rhino is most closely related to the Sumatran rhino which is also very hairy.
  • A group of rhino are called a crash.
  • An adult rhino can produce 20kg of dung a day, and they deposit it in dedicated areas called middens. These middens are used by all rhino in the area as information posts, as in the scent of the dung there is information as to the individual who deposited it, such as sex, maturity, whether a female is ready for mating.
  • White rhinos are not white, and black rhino are not black.
  • The white rhino is the largest land mammal, after the African elephant.
  • African rhinos have symbiotic relationship with Oxpeckers (or tick birds) who remove ticks from the rhinos as well as provide an alert system to potential danger, by calling and alerting the rhino especially when the rhino is sleeping during the day.
  • Rhino horn is composed largely of protein keratin – the main component in hair and fingernails – but it closer in structure to the hoof of a horse.
  • The horn of a rhino is unique in that keratinised cells runs the entire structure, whereas most other horns surround a bony core.
  • Rhino horn has a darker and denser core, which is made up of melanin and calcium. This part of the horn is considered more valuable and fetches as higher price. The calcium makes the horn harder and stronger and the melanin protects it from breakdown from UV rays.
  • Horns from white rhino are characteristically straighter, less rounded and bigger than those of black rhino.

Black Rhino have a Prehensil Lip for browsing

African Rhino have only molars and premolars

Rhino have very
poor eyesight

A Rhino species was the largest land animal to ever exist

  • Rhinos have poor eyesight, but very good hearing and sense of smell.
  • Rhinos can live for up to 40 to 50 years.
  • Rhinos communicate with each other with vocalisations and exaggerated breathing.
  • Rhinos running can reach a top speed of 55km/hr.
  • Rhinos use mud to protect their skin from biting insects and the burning African sun.
  • The largest animal to ever roam the Earth was a type of rhino called, Indricotherium which went extinct 30 million years ago and it was eight metres in height.
  • Male rhino can spray urine behind them up to five metres, as a show of dominance as well as for leaving scent signals in their territory for other rhinos.
  • Rhinos have 24-34 teeth, mostly premolars and molars for grinding. The canines and incisors are vestigial except for the lower incisors in Asian rhinos, which are developed into powerful slashing tusks, used to defend against predators.
  • Rhinos can be aggressive with each other, more than any other mammal species on the planet. Black rhino males, in particular, have more aggressive encounters and will kill other males in mortal combat.
  • Rhinos walk with most of their weight on their toe-nails, to avoid walking on their sensitive feet.
  • Rhinos are very windy, and can pass particularly noxious gas. Their farts can smell so bad, they have led to brewing terminology, when yeast used in fermentation produces hydrogen sulphide and gives off a horrible sulphur smell – it’s known as a rhino fart.

Rhinos have existed for more than 30 million years, modern day humans, only 200,000 years