Brown and white woolly rhinoceros: description and lifestyle


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The world of nature is fascinating and mysterious. On Earth, there are many interesting animals. However, it is very sad to realize that today many species are in danger of extinction, and therefore are listed in the Red Book. And the animals suffer, although it is sad to realize this, mainly due to the fault of man.

An example of this is the white rhinos who have experienced similar human “care.” The northern subspecies of this animal now needs to restore the genus. Recently, the last male died of old age, and only 5 females remained on Earth.

The article presents some information about one of the largest representatives of the animal world.


The white rhino mainly inhabits South Africa: Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This is Ceratotherium simum simum Burchell, which is a southern subspecies.

The second subspecies is the northern rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum cottoni Lydekker, currently living in Congo and Sudan.

The white rhinoceros belongs to the order of unpacific rhinoceros.

The animal is huge, dangerous, with a powerful and muscular body, sharp horns and impressive hooves. It is the largest representative of the family, being the second largest among land animals (the first is an elephant).

The body weight of an old male can reach 5 tons, body length - 4.2 meters, and height - up to 2 meters. The maximum length of the horn is 158 cm - this is a record. On average, the weight of the animal is about 2.5 tons.

Curious is that there is absolutely nothing white in the rhino. Rather, his body color is slate gray, almost dark. Unlike its fellow black rhino, it is a little lighter. Why then was he called white? There was a slight confusion: the locals called it wijde (translated from the Boer language - “wide” or “wider cord”), and the British by this sound called it white, which translates from their language as “white”. From here and the name of the white rhino spread to other countries.

Difference from black rhino

The main difference between the white and black rhinoceros is that its upper lip is flat and wide, whereas in black it is pointed like a proboscis. The structure of the lip of the first one corresponds to its purpose: the main food is grassy vegetation, but not shrubs.

The animal bites the vegetation near the ground, and the keratinized sharp edge of the lower lip completely compensates for the incisors that are missing from it.


Usually rhinos live in small groups, but sometimes there are herds consisting of 16-18 individuals. Basically, the group consists of females and babies that feed on their own, but who still cannot do without a mother. Sometimes old males become attached to such groups, but their females with calves endure only in those cases if they do not attempt to mate. Otherwise, they are expelled from the herd, and sometimes it comes even to kill them.

Males, in turn, do not tolerate any rivalry during the rut. Even a calf that is close to the mother can be in danger of being killed by adult males at such a moment. But they are most aggressive towards each other. Often, fierce battles end with the death of one of the males.

In the case of a general danger, white rhinos take a peculiar defensive position: they become in a tight circle out of their heads, covering their young. In addition, old males mark their plots with their fragrant tags.

As a rule, in hot weather, rhinos hide in the shadows, and graze out at dusk. At moderate temperatures, they graze most of the day. Necessary for these animals, as well as for black species, mud baths and watering. Where rhinos bathe, they are waiting for marsh turtles, pulling out of the skin of an animal lying in the mud, drunk ticks.


What does a white rhino eat? The menu, as noted above, mainly consists of low-growing grassy vegetation, in which the lower lip of this species of rhino plays an important role in biting.

They can eat and shrubs, but, in comparison with other rhinos, do it extremely rarely, only with urgent need.

Man and rhino

This species, like the rest of the rhinos, was subjected to the strongest pressure from people. If African nations hunted this animal occasionally (due to the lack of weapons among the tribes), then with the advent of Europeans, the situation has changed a lot. Uncontrolled hunting in the XIX century led these animals to the verge of extinction.

How many white rhinos in the world? At present, the total number of the southern subspecies is about 11 thousand heads.

By law, white rhinos can only be hunted under a license. Its value today is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Shooting animals is strictly controlled. Yet the population of these animals continues to suffer from poaching. This is due to the fact that among the indigenous peoples of Africa there is a legend about the healing benefits of powder made from the horns of white rhinos. Therefore, they are the desired goal of the tribes of this continent. These rhinos, like the Asian brethren, are victims of such superstition. Poaching today is not obsolete in Africa.

In conclusion of the world's last white northern rhinoceros

As noted above, the last of the males of the northern subspecies of the white rhinoceros, who lived in Kenya in the Al Pedget Nature Reserve, recently died.

Sudan (name of rhino) was 45 years old. The veterinarians made a decision to put him to sleep, as he suffered from several age-related diseases: his muscles atrophied, his bones crumbled, and so on. According to doctors, he stopped getting up quite a lot in the last 24 hours and suffered from pain.

Fortunately, scientists have preserved the genetic material of the male, hoping that it will be possible to ensure that the small northern rhinos reappear.

Rhinoceros: description and photo. What does an animal look like?

Rhino is the largest land animal after an elephant. Modern rhinos reach a length of 2–5 meters, height at the shoulders of 1–3 m and weigh from 1 to 3.6 tons. The color of their skin, as it seems at first glance, is reflected in the names of the species: white, black, and everything is clear. But it was not there. In fact, the natural skin color of white and black rhinos is about the same - it is gray-brown. And they are named so because they love to wallow in soils of different colors, which paint the surface of the body of rhinos in different shades.

By the way, the name "white" was generally assigned to the white rhino by mistake. Someone took the Boer word "wijde" (weide), which means "wide", for the English word "white" (white) - "white." Africans called the animal for its massive square face.

Indian rhinoceros Author photo: Sepht, CC BY 2.5

Rhinos have a long, narrow head with a steeply lowered forehead. A concavity resembling a saddle forms between the forehead and the nasal bones. The disproportionately small eyes of animals have oval brown or black pupils, and short, fluffy eyelashes grow on the upper eyelid.

The rhinoceros has a well-developed sense of smell: animals rely more on it than on other senses. The volume of their nasal cavity exceeds the volume of the brain. Also, rhinos have a well-developed ear: their ears, like tubes, constantly rotate, catching even faint sounds. But with the eyesight of the giants is bad. Rhinos see only moving objects from a distance of no more than 30 meters. The location of the eyes on the sides of the head prevents them from well seeing objects: they first see the object with one eye and then with the other.

Author photo: Chi King, CC BY 2.0

The upper lip of the Indian and black rhinos is very mobile. It hangs down a little and closes the lower lip. The remaining species have straight, clumsy lips.

On the jaws of these animals are constantly lacking any teeth. In the Asian system, in the dental system, incisors are present throughout life, and in African jaws, there are no incisors in both jaws. The rhinoceros has no canines, but in each jaw there grows 7 molars, which become much worn out with age. The lower jaw of the Indian and black rhinoceros is also decorated with pointed and elongated incisors.

Author photo: Jebulon, CC0

The main distinctive feature of rhinos is the presence of horns growing from the nasal or frontal bone. More often it is one or two unpaired growths having dark gray or black color. Rhino horns are not composed of bone tissue, like bulls, sheep or antelope, and keratin protein. Porcupine quills, human hair and nails, bird feathers, armadillo shell are made up of this substance. In composition, rhinoceros outgrowths are closer to the horny part of their hoofs. They develop from the skin epidermis. In young animals, when injured, the horn is restored, in adult mammals, it does not grow back. The functions of the horns have not yet been studied sufficiently, but scientists have found that females from whom the horn has been removed are no longer interested in their offspring. It is believed that their main purpose - to push the trees and grass in the thickets. This version is supported by changes in the appearance of the horns in adults. They become polished, and their front surface flattens somewhat.

In Javanese and Indian rhinoceros, there is 1 horn in length from 20 to 60 cm. In white and Sumatran - 2 horns, and in black - from 2 to 5 horns.

The horn of the Indian rhino (left) and the horn of the white rhino (right). Left photo author: Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0, right photo author: Revital Salomon, CC BY-SA 3.0

The longest horn is a white rhino, it grows to a length of 158 cm.

Photo author: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Public Domain

Rhinos are heavy, thick-skinned mammals with three-toed short massive limbs. At the end of each finger they have a small wide hoof.

Animal footprints are easy to recognize: they look like a clover leaf, as the rhinoceros rests on the soil surface with all its fingers.

Photo by: Ted, CC BY-SA 2.0

Author photo: Salix, CC BY-SA 3.0

On the covers of giants there is practically no wool. Only the tips of the ears are pubescent with a small bristle, and a thin tail 60-76 cm long ends with a brush of hard hair. Due to the fact that rhinoceros skin is not protected by anything, they coat it with dirt, thus protecting themselves from annoying parasites.

Author photo: Salix, CC BY-SA 3.0

The most "woolly" modern rhinoceros is Sumatran; it is covered with bristled brown hairs, most dense in young individuals.

Author photo: Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0

The skin of the Indian rhino is gathered in voluminous folds, which makes this animal look like a knight in armor. Even his tail hides in a special depression in the shell.

Author photo: SuperJew, CC BY-SA 3.0

Where does rhino live?

Nowadays, of the once numerous family, only 5 species of rhinos belonging to 4 genera have survived, all of them have become rare and are protected by people from humans. Below are the data of the International Union for Conservation of Nature on the number of these animals (data verified on January 5, 2018).

Three species of rhinos live in Southeast Asia:

  • The most numerous of them, Indian rhino (Lat. Rhinoceros unicornis), lives in India and Nepal, inhabiting floodplain meadows. The species is vulnerable, the number of adults in May 2007 was 2575 units. 378 of them live in Nepal and approximately 2,200 in India. Rhino is listed in the International Red Book.
  • Worse: Sumatran rhinos (Latin Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), the number of which does not exceed 275 adult individuals. They are found on the island of Sumatra (in Indonesia) and in Malaysia, settling in swampy savannas and mountain rain forests. Perhaps the habitat of several individuals includes the north of Myanmar, Sarawak in Malaysia, the island of Kalimantan (Borneo) in Indonesia. The species is in danger of extinction and is listed in the International Red Book.
  • Javan rhino (Latin Rhinoceros sondaicus) was in a particularly poor condition: the mammal can be found only on the island of Java in reserves specially created for its conservation. The javanese lives on the flat glades of constantly tropical rainforests, in thickets of bushes and grass. Animals are on the verge of extinction, and their number does not exceed 50 individuals. View listed in the International Red Book.

Two species of rhinos live in Africa:

  • White rhino (Latin Ceratotherium simum) lives in the Republic of South Africa, was introduced to Zambia, and also reintroduced into Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe. Inhabits dry savanna. Presumably mammals are extinct in Congo, South Sudan, and Sudan. The species is close to a vulnerable position and is listed in the International Red Book, but thanks to protection, its numbers gradually increase, although as early as 1892 the white rhino was considered extinct. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the number of white rhinos on December 31, 2010 was approximately 20170 units.
  • Black rhino (lat. Diceros bicornis) is found in countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Also, a certain number of individuals were reintroduced into the territory of Botswana, the Republic of Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia. The animal prefers dry places: sparse forests, groves of acacias, steppes, shrub savannas, the Namib desert. It can be found in mountainous areas up to 2700 meters above sea level. In general, the view is on the verge of extinction. According to the International Red Book, by the end of 2010, there were about 4880 individuals of this species in nature.

There are a few more white and black rhinos than their Asian counterparts, but the white rhino has been declared completely extinct several times.

Author photo: Ji-Elle, CC BY-SA 4.0

What eats rhino?

Rhinos are vegans who eat up to 72 kg of plant foods per day. The main food of the white rhino is grass. With his wide, fairly mobile lips, he can also pick up the fallen leaves from the soil. Black and Indian rhinos eat shoots of trees and shrubs. Herbivorous animals pluck acacia sprouts directly from the root and destroy them in large numbers. Their sphenoid upper lip (proboscis) allows you to grab and break hanging branches. The black rhinoceros loves elephant grass (lat. Pennisetum purpureum), aquatic plants, milkweed and young reed shoots. Indian rhino's favorite food is sugarcane. The Sumatran rhino eats fruit, bamboo, foliage, bark and young shoots of trees and shrubs. He also likes figs, mango and mangosteen fruits. The food of the Javan rhinoceros is made up of grass, foliage of vines, trees and shrubs.

In zoos, rhinos are fed with grass, and hay is harvested for them in the winter, in addition to which they are given vitamin supplements. Black and Indian species must be added to the feed branches of trees and shrubs.

Rhinos feed at different times of the day. Black, mostly, grazes in the morning and in the evening, other species can lead an active lifestyle both day and night. Depending on the weather, the animal needs from 50 to 180 liters of water per day. In dry periods, solids can do without water for 4-5 days.

Author photo: Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0

Rhino breeding

Sexual maturity of the male comes about the 7th year of life. But he can go on to reproduction only after acquiring his own territory, which he can defend. This requires an additional 2-3 years. Some rhinos begin their mating season in the spring, but most species do not have a time of year: they run every 1.5 months. And then between the males begin serious fights. Before mating, male and female pursue each other and may even fight.

Author photo: Bernard DUPONT, CC BY-SA 2.0

A female’s pregnancy lasts an average of 1.5 years. Once in 2-3 years, only one relatively small cub is born. Newborn rhinoceros can weigh from 25 kg (as in white rhinos) to 60 kg (as in Indian rhinos). In the white rhino the baby is born hairy. A few minutes later he gets up on his feet, the next day after birth he can follow his mother, and after three months he begins to eat the plants. But still, the main part of the nutrition of a small rhino is milk of the mother.

The female feeds the cub with milk for a whole year, but he is with her for 2.5 years. If during this period another mother appears in the mother, the female drives off the elder, although more often he soon returns.

Photo author: International Rhino Foundation, CC BY 2.0

White rhinos, mom with cub. Author photo: Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0

Enemies of rhinos in nature

Adult rhinoceros beware of all animals. Only a man mercilessly destroys him and to this day, despite all the prohibitions and protective measures.

Elephants treat rhinos "respectfully", try not to climb "on the rampage." But if they happen to encounter at a watering place, and the rhinoceros does not give way, then the fight can not be avoided. Duel often ends with the death of a rhino.

Лакомиться вкусным мясом детенышей носорогов любят многие хищники: тигры, львы, нильские крокодилы и др. При этом защищаются непарнокопытные не только рогами, но и клыками нижней челюсти (индийский и черный). В схватке взрослого индийского носорога и тигра у последнего шансов нет. Даже самка легко справляется с полосатым хищником.

Крупные размеры и рога не спасают носорогов от мелких кровососущих паразитов. Их кожу атакуют вши, клещи и мухи. И хотя птицы и черепахи несколько облегчают их долю, поедая наружных вредителей, гиганты сильно страдают от назойливой мелюзги. Молодых носорогов сильно ослабляют паразитические черви (глисты).

Author photo: Bernard DUPONT, CC BY-SA 2.0

Types of rhinos, names and photos

  • White rhino (lat. Ceratotherium simum) - the largest rhino in the world and the least aggressive among the rhinoceros. The length of the body of a white rhino is 5 meters, the height at the withers is 2 m, and the weight of the rhino usually reaches 2–2.5 tons, although some adult males weigh up to 4–5 tons. From the nasal bones of the beast grow one or two horns. The back of the animal is concave, the belly hangs down, the neck is short and thick. The mating season of representatives of this species begins in November - December or July - September. At this time, males and females form pairs for 1-3 weeks. The pregnancy of the female lasts 16 weeks, after which she brings one calf weighing 25 kg. They become sexually mature at the age of 7–10. Unlike other species, white rhinos can live in groups of up to 18 individuals. More often they combine females and their young. At danger the herd takes a defensive position, hiding the little ones inside the circle.

The white rhino eats grass. The daily rhythm of this species is highly dependent on the weather. In the heat, they take refuge in mud ponds and shade; in cool weather, they seek refuge in the bush; at moderate temperatures, they can graze both day and night.

Photo by Andrew McMillan, Public Domain

Author photo: Bernard DUPONT, CC BY-SA 2.0

  • Black rhino (lat.Dicerosbicornis) widely known for its aggressiveness towards people and other species. The rhinoceros weighs 2 tons, its length can be 3 m, and the height at the withers reaches 1.8 m. On the large head of the animal, 2 horns are clearly distinguished. Some subspecies are owners of 3 or 5 horns. The upper horn is often longer than the lower horn, reaching 40-60 cm in length. A feature of the black rhino is the mobile upper lip: it is massive, slightly pointed and slightly covers the lower part of the mouth. The animal's natural skin color is brownish gray. But depending on the shade of the soil in which the rhino likes to wallow, its color can vary greatly. Only where volcanic soils are common, is the color of rhino skin truly black. Some representatives of the species lead a nomadic lifestyle, the other - sedentary. They live one by one. Couples found in savannas are females with calves. The reproduction period of the black rhino does not depend on the season. The female bears a cub of 16 months, the baby is born with a weight of 35 kg. Immediately a few minutes after the birth of a small nosorozhek rises to his feet and begins to walk. Mother feeds her milk for about two years. She gives birth to a new baby in 2–4 years, and until that time her first child is with her. Animals feed on young shrubs and their branches.

An adult black rhino in nature has few enemies. Some danger to him is only the Nile crocodile. The main competitor is the elephant. Unlike other rhino species, black is not aggressive towards its species. There were cases when females helped a pregnant tribal woman, supporting her during heavy transitions. In a restful state, a black rhino walks with its head lowered and raises it when it looks around or gets angry. Along with leopards, lions, buffaloes and elephants, black rhinos are included in the big African five as the most dangerous animals of the continent and at the same time the most desired hunting trophies. The horn of the black rhino, like the horns of all other members of the family, has been considered healing since ancient times. For these reasons, the mammal has always been brutally exterminated, but it has been particularly intense over the past 100 years. Since 1960, the global population of black rhinos has declined by 97.6%. In 2010, there were approximately 4880 animals. For this reason, it was listed in the Red Book of the Earth under the heading "Taxa in critical condition."

Photo by: Jonathunder, GFDL 1.2

Author photo: Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Indian rhino (Latin Rhinoceros unicornis) lives in savannas and places overgrown with bushes. The largest individuals reach lengths of 2 meters, height at withers to 1.7 meters and body weight of 2.5 tons. The skin of a beast, thick with a pink shade, is gathered in massive folds. The tail of the Indian rhinoceros, which is also called one-horned, is decorated with a brush of hard black hair. The horn of females is like a slight bulge on the nose. In males, it is clearly visible and grows to 60 cm. During the day, the Indian rhino lies in mud solutions. In the reservoir, several individuals can quietly coexist alongside. The benevolent lodges in the water let many feathery on their backs: herons, starlings, bee-eaters, who peck blood-sucking insects from their skin. Their peace-lovingness instantly disappears as soon as they come out of the puddles. Males often fight and leave shallow scars on each other's skin. With the onset of dusk, herbivores go out in search of food. They eat cane stalks, aquatic plants and elephant grass. Indian rhinos swim well. There have been cases when their representatives easily crossed the wide Brahmaputra river.

A rhino female that has a cub may unexpectedly attack travelers. Often she rushes at the elephants with riders on the back. A properly trained elephant stops, then the rhino also freezes in the distance. But if the elephant embarks on a flight, then the driver may not be able to resist and fall. Then he will have difficulty, because to run away from the attacking rhino is almost impossible. Indian rhinos live up to 70 years. The older an animal becomes, the more lonely the lifestyle it leads. Each individual has its own territory, which the beast carefully guards and marks with manure.

The sexual maturity of females occurs in 3-4 years, males - in 7-9 years. The interval between the pregnancies of the female can be 3-4 years. Indian rhinos have one of the longest terms of gestation, which lasts 17 months. All the time before the onset of a new pregnancy, the mother takes care of the baby. In the mating season, the males fight not only among themselves, but also with females stalking them. Males must prove their strength and ability to protect themselves.

Author photo: Darren Swim, CC BY-SA 3.0

Author photo: Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Sumatran rhinoceros (armored rhino) (lat. Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) - This is the oldest representative of the family. The skin of the beast is 16 mm thick and covered with bristles, which are especially thick in young individuals. For this feature, the species is sometimes called the "hairy rhino". A large fold of skin passes over his back and behind his shoulders, and skin folds hang over the eyes of the animal. There are incisors on the lower jaw of the equipotent, and on the ears there is a hair brush. At the armored rhinoceros grow two horns, the front of which grows up to 90 cm. But the back is so small (5 cm in females) that the animal seems to be one-horned. The height of the Sumatran rhino at the withers is 1.4 m, its length reaches 2.3 m, and the animal weighs 2.25 tons. It is the smallest species of modern rhinoceros, but it still remains one of the largest animals on earth.

Day and night, the beast lies in muddy puddles, which it often makes on its own, after having cleaned up the area around it. It becomes active at dusk in the daytime. The Sumatran rhino eats bamboo, fruits, figs, mangoes, leaves, twigs and bark of wild plants, sometimes visits fields sown by humans. This is quite a dexterous animal, it easily overcomes steep slopes and knows how to swim. The giant leads a solitary lifestyle. He marks the territory with excrement and scars on the trunks of the trees, which he leaves with the help of horns. The female carries a calf for 12 months. She brings one baby once every three years and feeds her milk for up to 18 months. Mother teaches cub to find water, food, shelters, places for taking mud baths. The female reaches sexual maturity at the age of 4 years, the male by 7 years.

Photo author: International Rhino Foundation, CC BY 2.0

Author photo: Willem v Strien, CC BY 2.0

  • Javan rhino (Latin Rhinoceros sondaicus) now found only in the west of Java on the Ujung Kulon Peninsula nature reserve. The inhabitants of Java call it "war" or "warak."

In size it is close to the Indian, and they belong to the same genus, but the body shape of the varak is more lean. Height at withers varies from 1.4 to 1.7 m, size (length) without tail is 3 m, and rhinos weigh 1.4 tons. Females are completely devoid of horns, and in males the length of a single horn is only 25 cm. Noticeable front the skin fold of individuals of this species rises, and does not bend back, like in the Indian rhinoceros. His favorite food is the leaves of young trees, he also eats leaves of shrubs and vines.

Interesting facts about rhinos

  • Only in 1513 did the inhabitants of Europe learn about the existence of a “strange beast”. He was handed over to the Portuguese king Manuel I by the Indian Raja Cambie. First rhino exhibited the crowd, and then decided to send the Pope. The animal could not stand the sea voyage, it went berserk, struck the side of the ship and sank into the sea.
  • Over the past 15 years, several species of animals have disappeared on Earth completely. Among them is the subspecies of the black rhino - the western black rhinoceros (lat. Diceros bicornis longipes).
  • The large Merk rhinoceros (lat. Diceros merki) lived in Eurasian forests in the Quaternary period of the Cenozoic era, another rhinoceros - elasmotherium (lat. Elasmotherium) lived to the Holocene, and relatively recently (8-14 thousand years ago) the woolly rhinoceros (lat. Coelodonta antiquitatis). The largest representative of the noble in the history of the Earth was indricotherium (Latin Indricotherium), which lived 20-30 million years ago. Its height was 8 meters, and it weighed up to 20 tons.
  • The skeleton of a woolly rhinoceros (lat. Coelodonta antiquitatis), collected from the bones of various individuals found in Siberia, can be seen in the paleontological museum of Tomsk State University. The length of its larger horn is 120 cm, the smaller one is 50 cm, the height of the skeleton is 160 cm. Scientists have determined that the horns of a woolly rhino grew all their lives.
  • The word "rhino" is found not only in the name of the equine animal. There is also a rhinoceros beetle, a hornbill, a rhino viper, a rhinoceros cockroach, a rhinoceros fish, and an iguana rhinoceros. They all have horns that make them look like a big beautiful mammal.
  • The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) established in 2010 the day of the rhino, which is celebrated on September 22.

Extinct woolly rhinoceros. Photo by: Honymand, CC BY-SA 4.0

What did the woolly rhino look like?

The fur of a woolly rhino was very rough, its thickness on the chest and shoulders reached 1.5 cm. The body length of the animal could be 3-4.5 m, height at withers - 2 m.

The weight fluctuated and could reach 1.5 and 3.5 tons. Judging by the size, the ancient rhinoceros was inferior only to the mammoth. The horns of the animal was 2, they had both males and females. The shape of the horns compressed from the sides. The end of the horn in front was curved backwards, its length could be from 1 to 1.4 meters. The second, distant horn, was only 50 cm long.

Woolly rhinoceros lived in Eurasia.

Thanks to the well-preserved remains of a woolly rhinoceros found in northern Russia and in Asia, scientists were able to obtain reliable information about the structure and parameters of his body. In the permafrost in Siberia, whole mummified carcasses of these herbivores were discovered. According to experts, the life expectancy of a strong animal was approximately 45 years. This figure was obtained after comparing the wear of teeth in a fossil specimen with a modern representative of the rhinoceros species.

What were the habits of the extinct rhino and what did he eat?

In those areas in which the woolly rhino lived, the thickness of the snow cover was minimal, which made it possible for the animals to tear the snow and feed on tender grass. The remains of plant food found in the stomachs of fossil rhinos gave an exhaustive answer, what fed these mammals. Scientists suggest that the horns of animals served them to rake the snow. The way of life of the ancient beast practically did not differ from the life of modern rhinos, although the latter live in a warmer climate. The ancient species grazed much of the time on the abundant forage spaces in the river valleys and accumulated fat.

These rhinos were solitary and did not form herds or groups. Experts explain the disappearance of the woolly rhinoceros by the fact that the glacier retreated further and further north and the thickness of the snow cover increased. Animals could hardly reach the vegetation and often, when moving, fell deep into the snow. As a result of climate change, the spacious steppes changed dense forests and forage lands of woolly rhinoceros greatly reduced. It is because of the change in climatic conditions, as scientists assume, that these powerful solids have become extinct.

Woolly rhinoceros skull.

Another reason for reducing the population of woolly rhinos, called the hunt for them by ancient people. At a time when these animals suffered from a lack of food, the destruction of them by humans contributed to the extinction of the species. Thus, cavemen accelerated the extinction of the ancient rhinoceros, which reproduced offspring very slowly. A female of this species brings only 7-8 pups in her entire life. Under adverse conditions, with such rates of reproduction, it was not possible to keep the population at a normal level.

For these reasons, it is now possible to look at the woolly rhino only in the museum of paleontology.

Rhinoceros: description, structure, characteristics. What does a rhino look like?

The Latin name of the rhino - Rhinocerotidae, is essentially identical with ours, since “Rhino” means “nose”, and “ceros” horn, it turns out “rhino”, the name that very aptly characterizes this beast, because the big horn on the nose, growing from The nasal bone is an essential attribute of all decent rhinos (though not decent ones either).

And also a rhinoceros, the largest land mammal after an elephant - the length of a rhino is from 2 to 5 meters, with a height of 1-3 meters and a weight from 1 to 3.6 tons.

The colors of rhinos depend on their species, in fact, at first glance, it seems that the names of rhino species originated from their color: white rhino, black rhino. But not everything is so obvious and unambiguous, the fact is that the real color of the skin, both white and black rhino is the same - gray-brown, but due to the fact that these rhinos love to wallow in the earth of different colors, which colors them in different colors, and send their names.

The head of the rhino is long and narrow, with a steeply lowered forehead. Between the nasal bones and forehead has a concavity, something like a saddle. Small eyes of a rhino with brown or black pupils with their size look very contrast to the background of their large head. As we mentioned at the beginning, with the eyes of the rhinos, things are not important, they can only see moving objects from a distance of no more than 30 meters. In addition, the fact that their eyes are located on the sides, does not give them the opportunity to properly consider this or that object, they see it first with one eye, then the second.

But the sense of smell in rhinos, on the contrary, is well developed, and it is on him that they rely the most. Interestingly, the volume of the nasal cavity in rhinos is greater than the volume of their brain. Also well developed in these giants and hearing, the ears of rhinos are like tubes that constantly rotate, picking up even faint sounds.

The lips of the rhinoceros are straight and clumsy, with the exception of the Indian and black rhinoceroses, which have a mobile lower lip. Also, all rhinos in the dental system have 7 molars, which are strongly erased with age, Asian rhinoceros, in addition to the teeth, have incisors that are absent in African rhinos.

All rhinos have thick skin, which is almost completely devoid of coat. An exception here is the modern Sumatran rhino, whose skin is still covered with brown wool and the woolly rhinoceros that once lived in our latitudes, which, together with the same woolly mammoth, unfortunately, has not survived to our times.

The legs of the rhino are heavy and massive, on each foot there are three claws, as a result of which it is very easy to recognize them from the rhinoceros tracks where these giants walked.

Rhino horn

Rhino horn is his business card and should be mentioned separately. So, depending on the species, a rhino on the nose can grow as one, or as many as two horns, with the second horn located closer to the head of a smaller size. Rhinos 'horns consist of the protein cerotin; by the way, the same protein consists of human hair and nails, a porcupine needle, birds' feathers, and an armadillo shell. Horns from epidermis of rhinoceros develop.

In young rhinos, when the wound is wounded, the horns are restored; in the old, no longer. In general, all the functions of the rhinoceros horn have not been fully studied by zoologists, but for example, scientists have noticed such a curious fact - if the horn is removed from the female rhino, then it will no longer be interested in its offspring.

The owner of the longest horn is the white rhino, it reaches 158 cm in length.

How many rhino lives

The life span of rhinos is very long, since African rhinos live in the wild for an average of 30–40 years, and live to 50 years in zoos. But the biggest long-livers among rhinos are Indian and Javanese rhinos, which can live to 70 years, almost as a term of human life.

Enemies of rhino

Главным врагом носорогов является, конечно же, человек, в былые времена безжалостно истреблявший этих животных, в том числе ради их знаменитых рогов, которые по поверью обладают различными целебными свойствами. До истреблялись до того, что сейчас все 5 видов носорогов занесены в Красную книгу, так как из-за низкой их численности они перебывают на грани исчезновения.

В природных же условиях другие животные, учитывая размеры и осторожно-подозрительный нрав носорогов, их стараются обходить стороной. А вот на детенышей носорогов вполне могут поохотиться разные хищники: львы, тигры, крокодилы. But with an adult large rhinoceros with thick skin and a sharp big horn they can not cope.

Able to drive away a lion or a tiger, the rhino, nevertheless, turns out to be completely defenseless against various small parasites that bother him: lice, ticks, flies. The true friends of the rhino are saving the situation - dragging birds that eat these parasites off its skin.

Black rhino

This species of rhino is extremely dangerous due to its aggressive nature. At the approach of a person, even if it is an innocent tourist with a camera can react quite nervously, so you should stay away from him. As well as the white rhino has two horns, one large and the second small, but somewhat smaller. The length of the body of the black rhino is up to 3 m. Also characteristic of the black rhino is the presence of a mobile black lip. The black rhino lives in a number of countries in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa: in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique.

Indian rhino

As you may have guessed, India is the birthplace of the Indian rhino, but in addition to it, Indian rhinos also live in Nepal. The body length of the Indian rhino averages 2 m and with a body weight of 2.5 tons. The horn of the Indian rhino is only one, and he, unlike the African rhinoceros, is not sharp, but more blunt, convex.

Sumatran rhino

The only modern type of rhinoceros, whose skin is covered with a small coat, because of what it is sometimes also called "hairy rhinoceros". It is also the oldest among all rhinos. The body length of the Sumatran rhino is 2.3 m and weighs 2.25 tons. Among the rhinos, the Sumatran rhino is the smallest, but despite this, it remains one of the largest representatives of the animal world of our planet. The Sumatran rhino actually lives on Sumatra Island (in Indonesia), also in Malaysia.

Javan rhino

This rhino is in a particularly deplorable state, according to estimates by zoologists, only about 50 individuals of the Javan rhino are currently preserved. It dwells only on the island of Java in a specially created reserve for it, in which all efforts are made for its subsequent preservation. In terms of size and build, the Javanese rhinoceros is similar to the Indian rhinoceros, but its characteristic distinguishing feature is the complete absence of horns in females. Only males of the Javan rhino have horns. The folds of his thick skin are somewhat reminiscent of knightly armor.

Interesting facts about rhinos

  • Europeans first saw the rhino only in 1513, it was handed over to the Portuguese navigators by the Indian Raja Cambie. At first, a strange beast was exhibited to the amusement of the crowd, then the Portuguese decided to send it as a gift to the Pope, but on the way to the ship the rhinoceros went berserk, pierced the side of the ship and sank.
  • The World Wildlife Fund WWF has established a special “rhino day” which is celebrated on September 22.
  • The large, woolly rhinoceros of elasmotheries, once lived in forests, in the territory, including our country of Ukraine, as well as in many other places in Eurasia. Unfortunately, he died 8 thousand years ago.
  • The word "rhino" itself is found in the name of many other animals, for example, there is a rhinoceros beetle, a rhinoceros viper, a hornbill, a iguana, a rhinoceros, a rhinoceros fish. They all have horns, which makes them look like our today's hero - a rhinoceros.

White, woolly rhino

In the middle of the 14th century, an unknown animal’s skull was found in the region of the Austrian town of Klagenfurt. Residents of the town were convinced that the skull belonged to the legendary dragon Lindwurms, who lived in Lake Wörthersee. But after three centuries, it turned out that the skull did not belong to the mythical dragon, but to the woolly rhinoceros that lived in Eurasia in ancient times.

The white rhino is an extinct mammal of the rhinoceros family. He lived in the vast spaces of Europe and Asia, finally disappearing 8-14 thousand years ago.

The main reasons for its extinction are changes in climate and changes in the flora. It is not excluded that the ancient people who actively hunted them played an important role in the disappearance of woolly rhinos.

The fossil bones of rhinos have been discovered for quite some time in Siberia and Mongolia, but for a long time they could not be correctly identified.

The bones of woolly rhinos began to attract the attention of scientists at the end of the XVIII century. For a long time, scientists believed that the fossil horns are the claws of ancient birds. But in 1769, thanks to the famous German-Russian traveler P. Pallas, it was finally established that the found fossils belong to the rhinoceros.

More than 130 thousand years ago the rhino area occupied a large area. Rhino inhabited Europe, Russian valley, Eastern and southern Western Siberia, Primorye, northern China, Mongolia. Finds of remains of woolly rhinoceros occurred even on the New Siberian Islands.

The white woolly rhinoceros was apparently absent on the island of Ireland, in Japan, in the north of central Siberia, in North America (although other animals, for example, the steppe bison and mammoth, lived there).


In appearance, the white woolly rhinoceros was similar to the modern member of the family, but nevertheless it differed in some details of the structure. He had a more extended body, his head was also more elongated, and his paws were shorter. The scruff was raised by a hump, which was formed by muscles and contained a large amount of fat. The body of a white woolly rhino was covered with long hair of red-brown color, and the skin was very thick, which was an adaptive feature to dwelling in a very harsh tundra-steppe climate. The woolly rhino had two horns, the front of which reached 1.4 meters in length, and its weight was about 15 kg. The second horn was significantly shorter - no more than 0.5 meters.