White Rhinoceroses

white rhino 1White rhinos, or square-lip rhinos, are the third largest land mammal after African and Asian elephants.  They can weigh up to 8,000 lbs (3,630 kg).  They are the most abundant of all rhino species, with about 21,000 living on earth.

White rhinos eat grasses and low-lying plants.  Because of their eating habits, they have evolved square lips to be more efficient at gathering food.  White rhinos can eat up to 120 pounds (54 kg) of food every day.  They also drink up to 40 gallons (150 liters) of water a day, and can go for 5 days without taking a drink.  In dryer regions, rhinos have evolved to consume more water when it is abundant so that they will need less water for the dryer times.

white rhino 2White rhino cows start giving birth around the age of 6.  They have a pregnancy of 18 months.  When born, white rhino calves weigh between 90 and 145 lbs (40 to 65 kg).  When first born, rhino cows are extra protective against lions and hyenas that may try to steal her calf. They nurse for 12 months, then start to eat grasses and other plants.  They will stay with their mothers for 2 years.  During this time, they learn what to eat, how to defend themselves, and how to socialize with other rhinos from their mother.

White rhinos are the most sociable of all rhino species.  They can be found gathering around watering holes and communal dung piles.  Their sense of smell allows them to determine the gender, breeding potential, and other features about them.  Rhinos also form herds to socialize, and for added protection against poachers.

White rhinos have no natural predators. However, rhino horn is believed to have medicinal powers.  On the Asian Black Market, rhino horn can go for $25,000 USD.  It is worth more than illegal drugs and weapons.  Powdered rhino horn is believed to cure cancer and other diseases, although it does not.