Rhinoceros looks like an animal straight from the dinosaur age and it is indeed for the last 50 million years that this stealthy aninmal has inhabited our planet. The most prominent feature of this animal is undoubtedly the horn but did you know that the rhino is an accomplished sprinter or why it doesn’t mind some birds perching on its back all the time. Here are answers to these and some more amazing facts about the rhino.

1. Mud Pack

Rhinos love to cover themselves up in mud and this beauty regimen is followed by male and female alike. It is to ensure that their sensitive skin is prevented from insect bites. It also acts as a valuable sunscreen. Despite the tough looking exteriors, the rhinos do need to take care of that skin!

2. Famous Five

The five species of rhinos found in the world are – White, Black, Indian, Sumatran and Javan.  

3. On the run

Rhinos are very good sprinters. They can run at an average speed of 30 miles per hour and can rapidly change directions. But they need ample rest between two runs.

4. White or wide?

The white rhino is believed to be called white because of its lighter skin shade. But in fact the name is derived from the Dutch ‘weit’ meaning wide referring to the animal’s broad and wide lips adapted for grazing.

5. Lip Reading

To know the difference between a black and a white rhino immediately, it is better to see the lips rather than the body color. The black rhino mostly eats leaves and fruits and thus has a pointy or tapering upper lip. The white rhino mostly grazes grass in the savannah and has broad, square lips.

6. Door Opener

The black rhino can use its pointy lips not just to pluck flowers n fruits, but to open gates and car doors!

7. Venting out

Rhinos use an intricate system of breathing exhalations in addition to grunts and squawks for communication.

8. A friendly scratch

The birds calmly perched on top of a rhino’s back have an important role to play. They help keep the ticks away! And Indian rhino especially has an armored appearance because of the many folds of its skin and invariably there are ticks that make home within the crevices. The birds prey on the ticks and the ‘ticklish’ act keeps the rhino parasite-free.

9. Crash Course

A group of rhino is called a Crash.

10. Extinction Threat

The Javan Rhino is the most endangered of all the five species found in the world. The Vietnamese Javan Rhino, a subspecies was declared extinct in 2010.

11. Two Much

The Sumatran Rhino is the only Asian rhino species to have two horns. It is also unique with red colored hair covering its body.

12. All a blur

Rhinos have very acute hearing and a sense of smell. But they cannot see very well. In fact, a white rhino can only see upto a distance of about 20 metres.

13. Mighty Horns

Rhino horns grow as much as 8 centimeters a year, and have been known to grow up to an incredible 1.5 metres!

14.  Horn Medicine?

The horns DO NOT have any medicinal properties. They are made of keratin, the same thing that makes human nails or hair.


Images via Flickr/cc by Sean, Derek keats, sarahdepper, Dhruvaraj

About Atula Gupta

Atula Gupta is the Founder and Editor of indiasendangered.com. Her work has appeared in a number of international websites, dailies and magazines including The Wire, Deccan Herald, New Indian Express, Down to Earth and Heritage India on issues related to environment and its conservation. She is also the author of Environment Science Essentials, a set of books for school children. She hopes this website provides a platform for people to be aware about species in the verge of extinction and heighten their conservation efforts.

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