African Rhinoceros

© Roger de la Harpe
See a beautiful collection of Rhino photos

Introduction

These mammals are easily recognised by their prehistoric features and the horns on their forehead. Rhinos are bold and have been seen to graze right next to Lions, with the Lions being equally un-fazed. Poachers are greatly responsible for the decreasing Rhino population.
In the Kruger National Park White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) occur mostly in woodlands between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers, and less around Shingwedzi and Letaba. The Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) is found around thorny thickets and dense bush in southern Kruger between Skukuza and Pretoriuskop and also south of Lower Sabie near Crocodile Bridge.

How and when do rhinos sleep?

Rhinos sleep standing up or lying down and can sleep up to 8 hours a day at intervals. They can be found dozing under a tree during a hot day, but when they take a deep sleep, they lie down with their feet curled up slightly to the one side. They sleep very deeply and can easily be approached.

How do Rhino keep cool?

©Roger de la Harpe
During the heat of the day Rhinos will rest up in shade or find a mud wallow. The mud not only cools them down but protects the skin against parasites and the sun. Rhinos tend to move around more during the night when it is cooler and more bearable. They will also drink water whenever available.

What is the rhino horn made of and why is it in such demand?

Rhino horn is not made up of compressed hair as once thought but rather keratin (the same material that makes nails, claws and hooves). The horn is sought after for its supposed medicinal purposes. In Yemen the horn is used for dagger handles that are presented to young boys reaching into manhood.

What are the differences between black and white rhinos?

There is no difference in colour between the two species, with the name of the White Rhino coming from the description of its mouth, wyd or wide. The mouth of the Black Rhino is hooked as opposed to the wide mouth of the White Rhino. The White Rhino is a grazer and the Black Rhino is a browser, hence the shapes of the mouths. There is also a difference in size with the White Rhino been the bigger of the two.

What do Rhinos eat?

©Roger de la Harpe
Rhinos are herbivores, feeding on vegetation including fruits, twigs, stems, grasses and leaves. Rhinoceros lack teeth at the front of their mouths and therefore rely on their lips to pluck food. Black rhinos feed at night and during the hours of dawn and dusk. They take cover from the hot sun during the day by lying in the shade.

For More Info on Rhino Species see

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