The Rhinoceros commonly referred to as the rhino, is a group of five species of perissodactyls in the family of Rhinocerotidae species alive today, two of which are native to Africa and three to the regions of Southern Asia.
Characterized by their large size, the rhinoceros can weigh as much as one tonne and is known for its herbivorous diet mostly feeding on leafy material, a thick protective skin formed by layers of collagen which can sometimes grow up to 5 cm thick, relatively small brains and its large horn. Unlike other odd-toed ungulates, the African species of the rhinoceros use their lips to pluck their food due to the lack of teeth at the front of their mouths.
Rhinoceros are primarily hunted and killed for their horns which are sold illegally to be used for ornamental, medicinal and therapeutic purposes. The largest black market for rhinoceros horns can be found in East Asia, Vietnam where the cost of the rhinoceros horns is almost as much as its weight in gold.
The rhinoceros horns are primarily made of the protein keratin, the same protein which is responsible for forming our fingernails and hair. Indian and Javan rhinoceros have one horn while the African and Sumatran rhinoceros are known for having two horns.
Interesting Facts about the Rhinoceros
• The five extant species of the rhinoceros is divided into three groups. The Dicerotini group which originated over 14 million years ago and includes both African species, the black or hook-lipped rhinoceros and the white or square-lipped rhinoceros; the Rhinocerotini group which includes the Indian and Javan rhinoceros which separated from each other 10 million years ago, and the third group which is a subspecific hybrid of the white rhinoceros, bred in 1977 Czech Republic.
• The southern white rhinoceros one of the two subspecies of the white rhinoceros, and numbering over 16,000 individuals is the most abundant subspecies of the rhinoceros in existence. The other subspecies, the northern white rhinoceros since 2008 has been noted as an endangered species in South Africa with as few as only four rhinos living in the wild. The San Diego Zoo Park in the United States is home to five of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies, while four were born in a Zoo in the Czech Republic and later transferred to a wildlife refuge center in an effort to save the species from extinction.
• There is no decisive explanation for the given name, “white rhinoceros”, however one popular theory suggests that the term, “white” used to describe the species, is a distortion of the official South African language for the word wyd meaning wide, and referring to the rhinos squarely shaped lips. The white rhinoceros has a massive body, a huge head and an immensely broad chest and can weigh in as much as 10,000 pounds. The species has two horns on its snout, with the front horn the larger of the two reaching up to 59 inches. Most of the white rhinos hair is found on the tail bristles and the ear fringes and has a light coat scattered throughout its body.
• The name black rhinoceros which was specifically chosen to distinguish this species from the white rhinoceros has often led to confusion as there is no distinguishable color between the two. Notably there are four extant species of the black rhinoceros; the Diceros bicornis minor, which once ranged from central Tanzania to northern and eastern South Africa and commonly referred to as the South-central; the Diceros bicornis bicornis or South-western species which are more adapted to the semi-arid and arid regions of southern Angola, Namibia and western South Africa; the Diceros bicornis michaeli or East African rhinoceros which is mainly found in Tanzania, and the Diceros bicornis longipes or West African species of rhinoceros which was declared extinct in 2011.
• The black rhinoceros when adult can weigh as much as 4,000 pounds, have a total length of more than 13 feet and stand at a height of 69 inches.
• The Indian rhinoceros commonly referred to as the greater one-horned rhinoceros is almost as large as the African white rhino and has a single horn 20 to 100 cm long. Its thick skin forms massive folds over its entire body and usually appears in a silver-brown color. The Indian rhinoceros shoulders and upper legs are covered with wart-like bumps and has little to no hair.
• The species which once inhabited several areas, from Pakistan to Burma as well as parts of China now only exist in a few protected areas in India due to human influence. More than two-thirds of the Indian rhinoceros population is confined to the Kaziranga National Park located in the Golaghat district of Assam, India.
• One of the most endangered species of rhinoceros is the Javan rhinoceros. In a 2002 report, it was noted only 60 of the total population of Javan rhinoceros were in existence in Indonesia and Vietnam. The Javan rhinoceros is also the least known rhino species and much like the larger Indian rhinoceros which it shares a close relation, has a single horn.
• The Javan rhinoceros armored appearance is seen in its hairless grey skin folding onto its shoulders and back. The Javan rhinoceros when adult can weigh as much as 2,000 kg, span a length of up to 10 feet and stand at a height of over 5 feet with their horns reaching as much as 26 cm in total length. Although the Javan rhinoceros were once widespread throughout Asia, they were almost hunted to extinction in Burma, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Peninsular and Sumatra in the 1930s. As of 2009 it was reported that there were only 40 Javan rhinoceros remaining in the Ujung Kulon Conversation in Java, Indonesia. The last Javan rhinoceros was killed in Vietnam in 2010.
• The smallest species of rhinoceros and also the rhino with the most hair is the Dicerorhinus sumatrensis or the Sumatran rhinoceros. Found in the high altitudes in Sumatra and Borneo, the number of Sumatran rhinoceros has declined due to a loss of habitat and poaching. As the most threatened species of rhinoceros, it is estimated that there are only 275 Sumatran rhinos remaining.
• A mature Sumatran rhino can weigh as much as 1500 pounds, span a total length of over 10 feet and stand at a height of about 4 feet.
Africam Rhinoceros Webcam
The Africam Rhinoceros webcam features an orphaned baby rhinoceros Gertjie AKA “Little G” who’s mother was killed by poachers. The rhino which is now in the care of the Hoedsruit Endangered Species Center can be seen by clicking on the link provided below.Africam “Little G” webcam Link:
Blair Drummond Safari Rhinoceros Webcam
The Blair Drummond Safari located less than an hour drive from Edinburgh features a live webcam of their rhinoceros house shown in the link below.
Rhino Yard Cam at Houston Zoo