Rhinoceros is the only living megafauna with 1 or 2 horns on its nose. The name is made up of 2 Greek words. The word “rhino” is the nose, while the word “ceros” is the horn. Rhino is a common nickname for them. They are herbivores with small brains and bad eyesight.
Currently, there are only 5 species left on the Earth. The White Rhino and Black Rhino live in Africa. Meanwhile, the Indian Rhino, Javan Rhino and Sumatran Rhino live in Asia.
Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that make a rhino, a rhino.
Horn, Not Antler
The horn, unlike the antler, is not a bony outgrowth of the skull. Instead, it emerges from the base of the skin. It has a bony core with a densely woven keratin coating, which is similar to the fibrous protein found in human hair and fingernails. They continue to grow throughout the rhino’s life, just like our hair and fingernails. Horns are permanent structures. Nevertheless, if a rhino loses one, it can regrow in about 3 years.
The Black Rhino, White Rhino and Sumatran Rhino each have 2 horns, however, Indian Rhino and Javan Rhino only have 1 horn. The longest horn ever recorded is 59 inches, belongs to a White Rhino.
Weapon Of Defence
Their horns appear to be an effective weapon for defending themselves against predators. Nonetheless, there is a common misunderstanding that the horn is the primary weapon. Instead, many rhinos use their teeth to gore their opponents.
Rhinos are pachyderms, which are animals with thick skin. They suffers from pachydermoperiostosis, an X-linked genetic disorder that causes thick skin. The thickness of their skin ranged from 1.5 to 5 cm. Their skin is made up of collagen layers.
Is Black, Is White
The names of Black and White Rhino are misleading, as both are actually grey or brown in colour. White Rhino is paler than the other species. Despite this, the White Rhino is thought to have derived its name from the Afrikaans word for wide, which refers to its wide, square lip.
Black Rhino has a pointy upper lip. The name, however, has nothing to do with the shape of the lips. The black, wet mud in their wallows most likely gave them their moniker.
The Second Largest
The White Rhino is the largest rhino species and the second-largest terrestrial mammal after the elephant. A mature White Rhino is around 4 m long and 2 m tall. It can weigh anywhere between 2,700 and 4,500 kg. As a result, it can be as heavy as a large sport utility vehicle or an ambulance.
Good Friend, Bad Friend
In Africa, rhinos have a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers, also known as “Tick Birds”. They are known as “the rhino’s guard” because they consume ticks and other insects found on the rhino. It also aids the rhino’s body in the removal of earwax and oil. When it detects danger, it also makes a ruckus, which helps to notify the rhino. Despite this, oxpeckers pick at rhino wounds, which rhinos have to tolerate.
The IUCN Red List has classified 3 of the 5 living rhino species as critically endangered, which is the Black Rhino, the Javan Rhino and the Sumatran Rhino. Only 18 and 30 adult individuals of the Javan and Sumatran Rhinos were left, respectively. All are confined to the Ujung Kulon National Park on Java’s western coast. These species have a 50% risk of becoming extinct this century. Humans are, once again, the rhino’s only true predator.