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All About Rhino's

Rhinos are part of our natural heritage. As long as humans have walked the planet, rhinos have also been part of our art, our cultural history and the fabric of life. If rhinos became extinct, it would be a loss for the whole of humanity, but even more so for the communities where rhinos are part of their heritage.

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Rhino's are an umbrella species - What’s an umbrella species you may ask? Well, when we protect rhinos, we are also protecting all the other animals living in their shared habitat including birdlife, fish, insects and other mammals. If the rhinos disappear, who's looking after the little guys in the eco-system.

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Rhino's have existed on earth for more than 50 million years, and once roamed throughout North America and Europe (as well as Asia and Africa).

 

Throughout their history, rhinos have been a very diverse group. The extinct rhino Paraceratherium was the largest land mammal that ever lived, and resembled a big, muscular giraffe. Telecoeras was a single-horned, hippo-like grazer common in North America.

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Things You Might Not Know About Rhino's

Her's some interesting rhino facts and trivia!

  1. The word rhinoceros comes from the Greek rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).

  2. A group of rhinos is called a “crash”.

  3. Male rhinos are called 'bulls' and females are called 'cows'. Their young are ‘calves’.

  4. White rhinos aren’t white. (And black rhinos aren’t black.) The white rhino’s name is taken from the Afrikaans word describing its mouth: “weit”, meaning "wide". Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "weit" for "white".

  5. The black rhino has a prehensile lip which allows it to feed on trees and shrubs. (The other African species, the white rhino, has a long, flat lip for grazing on grasses.)

  6. Rhinos are fast! They can run up to 30 – 40 miles per hour, which may not sound like much, but if one is running straight towards you it feels like a NASCAR race car is coming your way.

  7. Rhinos make an array of funny noises when they’re communicating.   During confrontations, they growl and make 'trumpet calls', the young also make a sharp squealy sound if excited or frightened.  Black rhinos snort when they’re angry, make sneeze-like calls as alarms, scream if they’re scared and ‘mmwonk' when relaxed. 

  8.  Most wild rhino calves never meet their fathers - After mating, adult male and female rhinos typically go their separate ways. After the calf is born, it will probably spend a couple of years or more in the company of its mother, and perhaps associate with other females and their calves, but the father rhino is not part of the standard social group.

  9. Rhinos can swim - Asian rhinos are also excellent swimmers, crossing rivers with ease. But their African relatives are very poor swimmers and can drown in deep water – so they stick to wallowing in mud for a cool-down.

  10. Rhino pregnancies last 15 – 16 months.

  11. A rhino’s skin is much softer than it looks and is actually quite sensitive to sunburn and insect bites. (That’s why rhinos like rolling in the mud so much – it helps to protect them from the sunburns and insects.)

  12. Contrary to the common myth, there is no evidence that rhinos stamp out forest fires!

  13. The white rhino is the largest rhino (and the largest land mammal after the elephant) – they can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. The Sumatran rhino is the smallest rhino, weighing in at a mere 1,300 – 2,000 pounds.

  14. Rhinos have poor eyesight, but very well-developed senses of smell and hearing. (And they will charge at you when startled – the best way to escape is by climbing a tree, if one is handy!)

  15. African rhinos have a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers, also called “tick birds”. In Swahili, the oxpecker is called “askari wa kifaru”, which means “the rhino’s guard”. The oxpecker eats ticks and other insects it finds on the rhino, and creates a commotion when it senses danger.

  16. Most rhinos use piles of dung to leave “messages” for other rhinos - nuances in the smell of dung can tell a rhino a lot about others in the area. Each rhino’s smell identifies its owner as unique - the smell is different for young vs. adult animals, for males vs. females, and females in estrus vs. non-reproductive females. Combined with urine left along trails, dung piles create invisible “borders” around a rhino’s territory.

  17. The ancient woolly rhino, whose entire body was covered in a thick, shaggy coat, was hunted by early humans and is depicted in cave paintings dating back more than 30,000 years ago. The Sumatran rhino is the closest living relative of the extinct Woolly Rhino. (And they’ve got the hair to prove it!)

  18. Not all rhinos are solitary – both black and white rhinos commonly live in extended family groups (particularly females and calves).

  19. World Rhino Day is celebrated on September 22 - Each year in September

  20. The closest living rhino “relatives” are tapirs, horses and zebras.

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Rhino horns are made of keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and fingernails.

 

Rhino horn has been used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine but has not been proven to cure any illness. Powdered rhino horn has been prescribed by Asian doctors for centuries as a cure for a wide range of diseases or conditions. There is no evidence from any scientific studies that it has any curative powers but amazingly there is at least one Chinese study that disputes the data. And, of course, its use is illegal.

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