FUN FACTS ABOUT RHINOS
CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO READ MORE ABOUT EACH FEATURE OF AN RHINO
Two Greek words, 'rhino' meaning nose and 'ceros' meaning horn combine to create the word rhinoceros.
Our planet is home to five species of rhinoceros – the black rhinoand the white rhino, which live in Africa, and the Sumatran, Javanand Indian (or greater one-horned) rhino, which inhabit the tropical forests and swamps of Asia.
White Rhino refers to the animal’s wide mouth, whilst the black rhino was so-named to distinguish it from the white rhino.
White rhinoceroses are the most common species of rhino in the world, but this wasn’t always the case.
These brilliant beasts are known for their awesome, giant hornsthat grow from their snouts – hence the name “rhinoceros’, meaning “nose horn”. Javan and Indian rhinos have one horn, where as the white, black and Sumatran rhinos have two.
Because of their huge bodies, strong horns and thick, armour-like skin, rhinos have no natural predators. Nevertheless, these brilliant beasts get frightened easily! When they feel threatened, they’re instinct is to charge directly at whatever has spooked them – whether it be another animal or a harmless object!
Sadly, it’s estimated that there are only around 29,000 rhinos left in the wild, compared to 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. The main threat to these beautiful animals is illegal hunting, largely because their horns are used in traditional folk medicine, particularly in Asia. To find out what’s being done to protect the rhino – and how you can help, too!
WHY DO RHINOS SLEEP IN THE MUD?
During the heat of the day, these magnificent mammals can be found sleeping in the shade or wallowing in muddy pools to cool off. They love to get mucky, in fact! By covering themselves with mud and letting it dry they are protecting their skin from the sun (like a natural sunblock). Mud protects their skin and wards off biting bugs, too. Rhinos will rub their bodies against tree trunks and rocks to remove ectoparasites, such as ticks, which have become stuck in the dry mud on their skin.
WHO IS THE RHINOS BEST FRIEND?
They spend a lot of time with their feathered friends. Rhinos are often seen with Oxpeckers (or ‘tick birds’) perched on their back, which live off the pesky parasitic insects living in the rhino’s thick skin. The birds’ loud cries also help alert their big buddies of potential danger, too!