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The Rhinoceros has a unique thick layer of skin, which has a thickness of 1.5–5cm and is formed of layers of collagen.

The material that makes the Rhinoceros unique horn is a protein called keratin, which is the same material as in human hair and nails. If broken or cut, the horn can grow back within a couple years.

The horn is used in traditional medicines in China and as symbolic dagger handles in North Yemen. Some cultures believe that the powdered Rhino horn will cure everything from fever to food poisoning and will enhance sexual stamina. A poacher can get a sum of money equal to 2 years salary for each illegal Rhino horn they obtain so there is great incentive for them to poach. This makes human beings by far, the greatest predators of wild Rhinoceros. If we eliminate the demand for Rhino horn, we take away the incentive to poach.

A conservation effort was made wherein the horns were cut off Rhinos (this is harmless to them) in an attempt to devalue them to poachers. This turned out to be a failure as poachers tracking Rhinos would shoot any Rhino without a horn so they did not waste time following its tracks again.

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There are 5 species of Rhinos – 2 African and 3 Asian. The African species are the White and Black Rhinos both having 2 horns. Asian species include the Indian, Javan, each with 1 horn, and the Sumatran, which has 2 horns. The Indian lives in India. The Javan and Sumatran live in Indonesia on the islands of Java and Sumatra. The Sumatran Rhino is one of the most endangered animals. It is the hairiest and smallest of all the Rhinos.

Population Approximations: Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis): 2,400; White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum): 7,500; Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis): 400; Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus): fewer than 100; Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): more than 2,000.

The White Rhino is the second largest land mammal next to the elephant. The five species range in weight from 340kg (750lbs) to 3,628kg (8,000lbs) and stand anywhere from 1.4m (4.5ft) to 1.8m (6ft) tall.

Rhino habitat ranges from savannas to dense forests in tropical and subtropical regions.

Rhinos are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. White Rhinos, with their square-shaped lips, are ideally suited to graze on grass. Other Rhinos prefer to eat the foliage of trees or bushes.

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As solitary creatures, both male and female Rhinos establish territories. Males mark and defend their territories. Rhinos use their horns not only in battles for territory or females but also to defend themselves from lions, tigers and hyenas.

Males and females frequently fight during courtship, sometimes leading to serious wounds inflicted by their horns. After mating, the pair go their separate ways. A calf is born 14 to 18 months later. Although they nurse for a year, calves are able to begin eating vegetation one week after birth. The females gives birth, only once in three years.

All Rhinos are vegetarians. In fact, white Rhinos can eat plants that are toxic to other animals. If it weren’t for the Rhino, the African plains would be overtaken with these pesky weeds!

The largest, the white Rhino, can grow larger than any other land mammal with the exception of elephants.

The Black and White Rhino both have the same colour skin of dull grey. However, they love to wallow in mud so they often take on the colour of the soil. The White Rhino has a wide mouth and is a “grazer” (chomps grass like a lawn mower). The Black Rhino has a narrow mouth and is a browser (eats leaves from shrubs).

Rhinos have extremely poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell and hearing. They can run 65 K.P.H. (40 M.P.H.) and turn 180° in a distance equal to their body length.

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The Rhinoceros is more closely related to the horse than the Hippopotamus. Rhinoceros are “Odd-toed Ungulates” along with Horses, Zebras and Tapirs. (Ungulate is a term for mammals that have hooves.)

The average life span of a Rhino is 35 years in the wild; in captivity 45 years and have a gestation period of 15–16 months (8 months for the smaller Sumatran and Javan Rhino). Offspring weigh 68kg (150lbs) at birth in white Rhinos, 45kg (100lbs) for Black. An adult Rhino does not usually fall prey to other animals. Crocodiles are the most common predators of young Rhino calves.

It is now known that Rhinos use their nostrils, ears, posture and above all, a complex system of exhalations (like Morse Code) for communication and expression. Rhinos are very kind and gentle animals whether interacting with one another or other species of animals.

Black Rhinos have a prehensile upper lip (like a set of fingers) that can be used to extract the smallest piece of vegetation from a thorn bush. Showing their intelligence, they can also use this to open gates and even vehicle doors!

Kaziranga National Park, a Rhino sanctuary in India, hosts about two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned Rhinos.

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Medium.

 

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Only Size.

 

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 Taxidermied.

 

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