The rhinoceros is a large mammal natively found in Africa and Asia. They are characterized by their large size (all species of rhino can reach over 1 ton in weight!), an herbivorous diet, and a large horn. Oftentimes, their diet consists of leafy plants, but their ability to ferment food in their hindgut allows them to survive on more fibrous plants if necessary. The rhinoceros has no natural predators outside of humans; indeed, the main source of the rhino's population decrease is from poaching by humans, often for its horns. Javan and Sumatran rhinos in particular are severely in danger - rated Critically Endangered by the ICLU - with one subspecies of Javan rhino being declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011. Today, very few rhinos survive outside of national parks and reserves, with a mere population of 34,000 worldwide.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The rhinoceros' name comes from two Greek words - rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).
- On average, rhinos can be anywhere in between 4 to 10 feet in length.
- Rhino horns are not made of bone, but of keratin - the same material found in your hair and fingernails.
- A group of rhinos is called a crash.
- On average, rhino pregnancies last between 15-16 months!