FACTS ABOUT THE
Here are some interesting facts about one hellova mean-looking animal. The black rhinoceros or hook-lipped rhinoceros is a species of rhinoceros, native to eastern and southern Africa including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
- The black rhinoceros is in fact grey in colour. They often assume the colour of the local soil in which they wallow.
- The black rhino is also called the Hook-lipped Rhinoceros.
- Related species are the white rhino, the large Indian rhino, the smaller Javan rhino and the Sumatran rhino.
- It is a solitary animal, active mainly at night.
- The black rhino is considered the most aggressive species of its family and, despite its massive bulk, they can charge at great speeds of 50km per hour at an unwary observer. They are fully capable of killing a human being and can even cause serious damage to a car. It rarely presses home such attacks, preferring instead to browse the low trees of its wooded habitat, or simply to doze in the cool shade.
- Rhinos have specialised upper lips, which is prehensile (capable of grasping) and are adapted for feeding from shrubs which it strips the leaves and shoots from.
- Due to the structure of their mouths, the rhino cannot easily graze compared to other animals, but they tear up and eat clumps of long grasses instead.
- The oxpecker bird is a welcome passenger to the rhino as it picks parasitic ticks out of the rhino’s skin. The birds provide another valuable warning service to the rhino as it is known to screech loudly when humans approach.
- A rhino was once seen wallowing with six turtles picking out ticks as they climbed over her body.
- Since it needs to drink once a day, the rhino stays within 5km of water. In very dry conditions, it can dig for water using its forefeet.
- As it cannot sweat, the rhino, similar to an elephant, will roll in mud or dust to keep it cool and give it a protective coating of mud against biting insects.
- They are territorial animals, using scent as a signal, spraying urine along paths and using communal dung heaps to mark their territory. It scrapes with its hind feet after defecating to collect and carry the sent away with it.
- They mate at any time of the year. The male rhino has a breeding ritual to attract a female. He will brush his horn over the ground, charge at bushes, rushes back and forth and frequently sprays urine. The females are known to reject the males aggressively at first until she succumbs.
- Gestation is long at 15 months and they produce 1 calf. Young rhinos can walk 10 minutes after they are born. However, the mother will keep it hidden for a couple of weeks in fear that it may get trampled upon.
- Black rhinos stop growing when about seven years old. The female can breed before this, but in the wild she will have just one calf every two to five years.
- A rhino has very few predators, although a lion may try to take a calf. A spotted hyena is a more serious threat, but man is the deadliest of all.
- Sadly they have been threatened almost to extinction due to hunting. Hunters prize the rhino’s magnificent horn, which is valued for ornamental and medicinal use.
- Some rhinos have been de-horned to make them worthless to poachers.
- Recent conservation has been successful but there is a lot more work needed to bring back the Rhinos population to what it once was and to avoid it being lost forever.
Clancy's comment: I would not wish to tangle with one.