Did you catch our blog post last week about Elephant Facts? Today we are going to take some time to talk about the impressive rhinoceros! These incredible animals are native to Asia and Africa, but can also be seen in captivity around the world.

Rhinoceros Facts! Vegan Hippo

Rhinoceros Facts

Rhinoceroses are large land mammals that have been named for their characteristic horns. The word itself is a combination of the Greek word for nose, which is ‘rhino’, and the Greek word for horn, which is ‘ceros’. They are more commonly referred to as rhinos for short!

There are five different species of rhinos, with some of them having two horns and some of them having just one. The size of this mammal largely depends on the species, but they can grow to up to 13 feet long, and be up to six feet tall. Additionally, they can weigh up to 5,000 lbs! Rhinos can live for up to 45 years of age.

Life and Diet

Similar to our all time favourite – the hippo – rhinos are also herbivores! The type of vegetation that rhinos enjoy varies depending on the species, and they will generally graze throughout the day and night. Rhinos normally only stop grazing to sleep through the hottest parts of the day, or to take a cooling mud bath. These mud baths not only help the rhinos to cool off, but also helps to protect them from insects. Furthermore, this mud provides natural protection from the sun.

Rhinos generally spend their lives in a solitary way, but occasionally they will group together. When they do so, these groups are known as crashes. They will usually just consist of mother rhinos and her offspring. A female will reproduce one baby rhino every couple of years, with a gestation period of approximately 15 months. It is not common for a rhino to give birth to multiple offspring, but it does sometimes happen. The baby rhino will stay with its mother until roughly three years of age.

The Horn of the Rhino

According to ancient Chinese medicine, the horn of the rhinoceros has healing properties. For this reason this beautiful animal has been hunted by poachers, almost to the point of extinction. The rhinos are killed by those who then remove their horns to be sold for medicine. Traditionally the horns will be ground into a powder and then either added to food or brewed as a tea. The benefits of consuming ground rhino horn are said to range from treating gout, fever and rheumatism, to providing hangover relief. Within Chinese medicine, rhino horn is also believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

Rhino horns are also often sold as decorations, or kept simply as trophies of the kill.

Point of Extinction

Official statistics suggest that there are approximately just 29,000 rhinos left living in the wild. This is a massive decrease from the predicted 500,000 rhinos that were living in the wild at the beginning of the 20th century.

In addition to the threat posed by poachers, a loss of habitat is also partially to blame for the lowering numbers of wild rhinos.

Javan rhinos, Sumatran rhinos and Black rhinos are those that are closest to the point of extinction. Greater one-horned rhinos and White rhinos are not yet considered to be endangered, but are coming close to the point of being categorised in this way.

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