Teaching Treasures™

Rhinoceros - Rhinocerotidea

rhinoceros     rhino

There are five species of rhinoceros. The black rhino and the white rhino both live in Africa. They differ little in colour and both have two horns, but they can be told apart by the shape of their faces. The black rhino feeds on leaves from bushes. It has a long pointed upper lip which helps it to pull food into its mouth. The white rhino is a grazer and has a wide muzzle. It crops many blades of grass at once. The other three species of rhino live in Asia.

The Indian rhino has an armour-plated look, with big folds of skin above the legs. It is one of the biggest specie of rhinos. Males grow to 1.85m tall and 2.3 tonnes in weight, and females to 1.7m and 1.7 tonnes. The Javan rhino is smaller. The Javan and Indian rhino have only one horn. Javan rhinos remain only in a single reserve. The smallest rhino is the Sumatran, which has two horns, and has a thin coat of reddish hair. Only 150 Sumatran rhinos remain.

Rhinos inhabit grasslands, swamps and forests. They live up to 45 years of age. Size: head-body2.5-4.0m; weight 800-2,300kg. Rhinos rely mostly on their sense of smell to explore their surroundings. They have rather poor vision. They cannot pick out a person standing still more than 30m away. Their hearing is good though. Rhinos can make many sounds, from roars and squeals to bleats which sound too gentle for such  massive animals. Rhinos are hunted for their horn, which is believed to have medicinal properties. It is also used to make handles for daggers.

Most rhinos live alone. A calf my stay with its mother for 2 or 3 years. Sometimes several rhinos are found together around a good feeding area. But most prefer to be by themselves. Female rhinos give birth to one calf every 2 or 3 years. After mating it takes 8-16 months before the female will give birth to her young. Rhino mothers usually find a quiet spot in which to give birth. Baby rhinos are small compared to their parents, weighing 35-40kg... more



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