The rhinoceros is a big, archaic looking mammal that dates back to the Miocene era millions of years ago. Members of the rhinoceros family are characterized by their large size. We get two types of Rhinos in South Africa, namely: Black Rhinoceros - Diceros bicornis
White Rhinoceros - Ceratotherium simum.
The White Rhino: The white rhino's name originates from the Dutch "weit," which means wide, a position to its wide, square hush adapted for grazing. The white rhino, which is actually grey, has a pronounced hump on the neck and a long face. The Black Rhino: The black, or hooked-lipped rhino, along with all other rhino species, is an odd-toed ungulate (three toes on each foot). It has a thick, hairless, grey hide. Both the black and white rhino have two horns, the longer of which sits at the front of the nose.
The rhinoceros is a herbivore, which is dependant primarily on grass for nutrition. However, rhinos also dig up mineral salts from the ground with their horns, and have been known to eating soil. They have no natural predators, but sometimes fleas and ticks go on the rhino’s skin (which is why rhinos wallow in mud). The tick bird eats the ticks from the rhino. Yet, despite their seemingly small role in the food chain, rhinos play a significant role in their ecosystem. They make paths for other animals when they crash through dense bush. Their dung enriches the soil and contains seeds for germination. When they dig, they create pools of water benefitting others like frogs and insects.
The name rhinoceros means ‘nose horn’ and is often shortened to rhino. •
There are five different species of rhinoceros, three native to southern Asia and two native to Africa. They are the Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros. •
All five species of rhinoceros can grow to weigh over 1000 kg. •
White rhino can weigh over 3500 kg.
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