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African Rhinoceros

African Rhinoceros Facts / Black Rhino & White Rhino Facts

Size Up to 6.56 ft (2 m) (shoulder height)
Speed Up to 31 mph (50 km/h)
Weight 3-4 tons
Lifespan 35-50 years
Food Plants
Predators -
Habitat Africa
Order Odd-toed ungulates
Family Rhinocerosses
Scientific name Ceratotherium simum (white rhino), Diceros bicornis (black rhino)
Characteristics Two horns on the nose, massive body, short legs

Main Characteristics

Rhinos are very large and heavy ungulates. This animal profile is about the African rhinos: the black and the white rhino. In Africa, rhinos prefer savannas and grasslands as their habitat.

White Rhinoceros White Rhinoceros - Photo: JONATHAN PLEDGER/Shutterstock

The Differences between White Rhino and Black Rhino

The two rhino species living in Africa can generally be distinguished by the shape of their mouths. The square-lipped rhino is also the white rhino, because the Dutch term for "wide" or "broad" was misinterpreted: "wijde" finally became "white". In turn, the species with the pointed mouth was simply named black rhino.

Physical Description

What Is the Horn Made From?

Although their horns are hard as concrete, they do not consist - as is sometimes said - of bone, but (as the name implies) of horn. It is the same material that our hair is made up from. The largest currently known horn had a length of 62.2 inch (158 cm). The front horn emerges from the nasal bone, the back horn from the front part of the skull.

Black Rhinoceros Black Rhinoceros - Photo: Cathy Withers-Clarke/Shutterstock


What Do Rhinos Eat?

Rhinos eat more than 220 lb (100 kg) (!) of plants every day. Once they have digested them, they have to be released, of course ... Rhinos produce more than 110 lb (50 kg) of dung every day.

Rhinos Are Shy

They stay in their territory even if the living conditions become worse for them. White rhinos only explore new areas together with a close buddy.


How Fast Can a Rhino Run?

Clumsy Oaf? Yes. But a Pretty Fast ...! Rhinos can sprint across the steppe with speeds of up to 31 mph (50 km/h). This is really impressive for an animal that looks so cumbersome. Yet, they usually live in rather small territories of about 7.7 square miles (20 km2).

How Good Is a Rhino's Sense of Sight?

Although rhinos sometimes hurt each other and lose one of their horns, they hardly ever have a direct fight. The reason: Rhinos have very poor eyesight. The bulls assault each other with full speed, but they stop at the last moment in order to see who their opponent is ("Hi Fred, is it you?" "Oh boy, Harry! ...")

Black Rhinoceros Black Rhinoceros - Photo: 2630ben/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

Do Rhinos Have Enemies?

Apart from humas rhinos don't have any enemies. Sometimes Hyenas and wild dogs attack rhinos, but the only dare to do so, if it is a calf, an injured or an old rhino.

Why Are There Rhinos With Cut Horns?

Poachers kill rhinos because of their horns. Therefore, they are dehorned by gamekeepers, so that the poachers are no longer interested in them.

Are Rhinos an Endangered Species?

The white rhino is not an endangered species. All others are considered "vulnerable" or even "critically endangered" species.

Black Rhinoceros Black Rhinoceros - Photo: danieladeutzer/Shutterstock

Importance To the Ecosystem

Rhinos only eat certian types of grass. As a result other plant species have plenty of room to spread and overall there is a greater variety of plants - on which other animal species such as zebras, gazelles and antelopes depend on.


Often you can see birds like the ox-pecker or the cattle egret hop about on rhinos. They do not only enjoy the wonderful view, but they are also looking for a snack. Little wounds can become very bothersome for rhinos, because parasites settle down in them. The birds love to peck them away. This makes the rhino happy.

The African Rhinoceros Is Related To:

Animals in the Same Biome:

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