Perissodactyla Rhinocerotidae, Ceratotherium simum
The African rhinoceros is a very large animal, with a heavily armoured body and a distinctive horn. There are five separate species of rhinoceros’ in the world. The main two species are African rhinos and Asian rhinos. In Africa, there are two species of the rhino, the black rhinoceros and the white rhinoceros. Asia has the remaining three species, the Indian rhino, Javan rhino and Sumatran rhino.
The white rhinoceros has two horns. Despite its name, the rhino is light grey in colour. They weight about 2 and a half tonne, stand about 1.7 metres tall and 4 metres long. The white rhino often live in groups, which can range from any number up to about ten. They feed on grass and leaves. These animals are highly endangered, and have been a protected species for many years.
White rhinos are found in the grasslands of South Africa and also north Zaire. They have no natural predators due to their size. Humans however can be a predator to these beautiful creatures, by illegal hunting and poaching.
Rhinos mark their territory with urine. They enjoy bathing in mud to cool down on hot days.
Female rhinos can reproduce at around three years, whilst male rhinos are not able to reproduce until around seven years. After reproduction, usually one calf is born. The new born rhino can stand on its own just one hour after it is born, and feeds off the mother for 9-12 months. The rhino usually stay with the more for a further period of two to two and a half years before gaining independence and living solitarily.
The rhinos horn was much sought after in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Trading rhinoceros horn is illegal all over the world. There are only 2,500 black rhinos left in the world, a minute number considering only a hundred years ago there was almost a million (estimated) black rhinos in Africa.