FortWorthZoo Blog – Expedition: Education

Black rhino

Diceros bicornis

About the Black Rhino

Apr. 25th | Posted by 0 comments

DESCRIPTION

  • A mature black rhino weighs 1,800 to 3,000 pounds. It is between 10 and 12 feet long and approximately 5 feet tall. Skin color ranges from yellow-brown to dark-brown but is usually grey.
  • Most black rhinos have two horns, but some animals may exhibit a very small third horn. The horn on the tip of the black rhino’s nose is the longest—17 to 50 inches. The second horn is much shorter—8 to 20 inches.
  • The black rhino looks very similar to the white rhino. An easy way to distinguish the two species is to look at the upper lip. The white rhino has a wide, blunt upper lip, and the black rhino’s upper lip is narrow and hooked.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The word “rhinoceros” comes from two Greek words: rhino meaning nose and ceros meaning horn. Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same substance that makes up our hair and fingernails. Like hair and fingernails, rhino horn grows continuously. If a rhino’s horn breaks, it can grow back.

HABITAT

  • The black rhino can survive in a number of different habitats including deserts, savannahs, forests and grasslands.

RANGE

  • There are very few black rhinos remaining in the wild. Several small, fragmented populations reside in areas of southern and southeastern Africa.

DIET

  • Due to its size, the black rhino must eat constantly in order to get enough nutrients to keep its body going.
  • The massive herbivore browses on leaves, shrubs and other vegetation.

BEHAVIOR

  • The black rhino can run up to 40 miles per hour.
  • Like other rhino species, the black rhino will often wallow in mud, which keeps itself cool.
  • The black rhino is mostly a solitary creature. However, some females who do not have offspring may group together on occasion.

REPRODUCTION

  • Females do not become sexually mature until age 4 to 7 years, and males do not reach sexual maturity until 7 to 10 years.
  • Before mating, a male black rhino follows a potential female mate for one to two weeks.
  • Black rhino pregnancies last 15 months. A black rhino calf stays with its mother for four years. Females are very protective of their young.
  • A female black rhino gives birth to one calf every 2.5 to 3 years.

STATUS

  • Listed as critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Natures (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

THREATS

  • Habitat alteration
  • Poaching
  • Competition for resources

 

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