View Full Version : Week 13 - White Rhino

August 7th, 2007, 01:57 PM

Kingdom: Animalia¶
Phylum: Chordata¶
Class: Mammalia¶
Order: Perissodactyla¶
Family: Rhinocerotidae¶
Genus: Ceratotherium¶
Species: simum¶¶
Length: 145 - 158 inches¶
Weight: 3750 lbs¶
Gestation: 487 days¶
Offspring: 1¶
Life Span: 45 years¶
Top Speed (Ground): 30 mph


The rhinoceros is one of only a few remaining “megaherbivores”. Five species of rhino are still alive today. The White rhinoceros is one of the African species. It has two horns on its snout. Unlike the horns of cattle, sheep, and antelopes, the horns of the rhino are not made of bone. Instead, they are a lump of keratin fibers. The White rhino actually has almost the same color skin as the Black rhino. They are probably named after the color of dirt that covers their body. The White rhinoceros has a distinctive hump on the back of its neck that houses the ligament that supports its large head. The footprint of the rhino resembles an ace of clubs because of its three toes on each foot. The White rhinoceros is also called the Square-lipped rhinoceros because of its broad, flat lip that helps it graze on short grasses.

There are two subspecies of White Rhinos; The Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum), and The Northern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni). The northern subspecies is now only found in the Republic of Congo while the southern subspecies or majority of white rhino live in South Africa. 98.5% of white rhino occur in just four countries (S.A, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya).


All rhinoceroses are herbivores, living off of various types of foliage. The White rhinoceros has broad lips that help it take in grass from a large area, allowing it to consume more grass in less time. Rhinos drink water from watering holes almost daily. However, when conditions are dry, they can survive four or five days without water.


The White rhinoceros lives in Northeastern and Southern Africa. Since it lives on grasses, it prefers the savannas.


Rhinoceroses are mostly solitary animals, although a mother will stay near her most recent offspring until the next offspring is born. The White rhinoceros is the most sociable. Immature individuals will form groups, as will mothers without children. This can result in a group of up to 7 rhinoceroses. Males almost always stay by themselves, except for an occasional encounter with a female.


After a gestation period of 16 months, a mother White rhinoceros will give birth to a single calf weighing about 143 pounds. The calf will stay with its mother until her next offspring is born. If threatened, the mother will stand guard over her baby. Otherwise, the infant usually runs ahead of its mother.


Rhinoceroses have very poor eyesight. In fact, they cannot see a person standing motionless if they are more than 100 feet away. Since its eyes are of opposite sides of its head, the rhinoceros must look with one eye at a time to see straight ahead. They can rotate their ears to pick up sounds, resulting in fairly good hearing. However, the rhino most relies on its sense of smell. In fact, the part of the body responsible for smell (the olfactory passages) is larger than its entire brain.


Almost Broken up to the edge of extinction in the early 20th century, they have made a tremendous comeback. In 2001 it was estimated that there were 11,670 white rhinos in the wild with a further 777 detained worldwide, making it the most common Rhino in the world.

Like the Black Rhino, the White Rhino is under threat from habitat loss and poaching, most recently by Janjaweed. The horn is mostly used for traditional medicine although there are no health benefits from the horn. The horn is also used for traditional necklaces. A recent population count in the Republic Congo turned up only 10 rhinos left in the wild, which led conservationists in January 15 2005 to propose airlifting White Rhinos from Garamba into Kenya. Although official approval was initially obtained, resentment of foreign interference within the Congo has prevented the airlift from happening as of the beginning of 2006. On June 12, 2007 poachers shot the last 2 rhinos in Zambia, injuring one and killing the other. They removed the horn off the dead rhino.

Willow Rosette
August 7th, 2007, 02:25 PM
I just love these threads. I read them to Toria every time and she remembers it too. It amazes me in this day and age people are poaching them for their horns still.

August 7th, 2007, 03:24 PM
I'm glad that you and Toria can enjoy the threads together. Yes it is a shame that poaching still occurs.