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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!
There are 5 types (or species) of rhinos: White, Black, Indian, Javan and Sumatran.
The largest, the white rhino, can grow larger than any other land mammal with the exception of elephants.
A white rhino can stand 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh almost 8 thousand pounds or the same as 50 average-sized men!
Black and white rhinos live in Africa. The Inidan rhino lives in India. The Javan and Sumatran rhinos live in Indonesia on the islands of Java and Sumatra.
The Black and white rhino both have the same color skin of dull grey. However, they love to wallow in mud so they often take on the color of the soil. The white rhino has a wide mouth and is a "grazer" (eats grasses 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.
Rhinos have lived on earth for over 50 million years.
Rhinos can run 40 mph and turn 180 degrees in a distance equal to their body length.
Rhinos are more closely related to horses than hippos. Rhinos are "Odd-toed Ungulates" along with horses, zebras and tapirs. Ungulate is a general term for mammals that have hooves.
Rhinos live between 40-50 years and have a gestation period of 15-16 months (8 months for the smaller Sumatran and Javan rhino). Offspring weigh 150 lbs at birth in white rhinos, 100 lbs for Black.
Rhinos got a bad rap due to their poor eyesight because they would charge easily (charge first, then see if it is something to worry about). They were once thought of as aggressive, irritable and stupid animals. This couldn't be further from the truth.
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 peice of vegetation from a thorn bush. Showing their intelligence, they can also use this to open gates and even vehicle doors!
Rhino horns, unlike those of cattle and antelopes, have no bony core. They consist merely of compressed keratin fibers similar to our fingernails. If broken or cut, the horn can grow back within a couple years.
A conservation effort was made wherein the horns were cut off rhinos (harmless) 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.
Rhino horn is used in traditional medicines in China and as symbolic dagger handles in North Yemen. 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. If we eliminate the demand for rhino horn, we take away the incentive to poach.
The black rhino is a symbol for conservation in Africa just as the Bald eagle is to us.
When we save rhino habitat we not only save rhinos but we save everything from orchids to elephants.
All 5 species of rhino are in danger of extinction.
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