African Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros 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
White Rhino and Black Rhino

When talking about Rhinos, the correct terms are white rhino and black rhino.

No, It’s Not a Bone

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.

White Rhinoceros White Rhinoceros - Photo: JONATHAN PLEDGER/Shutterstock

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).

Broad = White, Black = Pointed

The two rhino species living in Africa generally can only 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. Great.

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

Rhinos are Chicken-Hearted

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.

A Case For The Optician

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 (“Hello Fred, is it you?” “Oh boy, Harry! ...)

Black Rhinoceros Black Rhinoceros - Photo: 2630ben/Shutterstock

Could You Please Do Me Some Favor?

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.

No Stress

Apart from humans, rhinos do not have any enemies. Only hyenas dare to attack rhinos, but only those that are injured or weakened by age.

Black Rhinoceros Black Rhinoceros - Photo: danieladeutzer/Shutterstock

Pupils are welcome to use this information at school for essays, presentations, posters or homework. All information appearing on this site has been precisely and thoroughly researched, nevertheless should you notice any errors, please do notify us via email.