The word rhinoceros is a combination of two Greek words rhino meaning nose and ceros meaning horn. There are five types of rhinoceros two for African namely white and black, and three for Asians greater one-homed, java and Sumatran but in Kenya we only have the white and black rhinos both found in Nakuru national park.
Rhinos are known to be the largest land mammals after the elephant and are herbivores and thus eat plants just like herbivores animals. Their physical features of white rhinos include square-shaped lips, suitable to graze on grass. Other rhinos prefer to eat the foliage of trees or twigs of trees in the bushes.
However, in Kenya safaris you have a chance to view both the black and white rhinos. Black rhino (Diceros bicornis) weigh about 2,400kg and live in various habitats, but mainly areas with dense, woody vegetation while white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) weigh about 7,500kg and live in savannas with water holes, mud wallows and shade trees because they like wallowing in mud to keep off being bite by tsetse flies and other parasites.. (African rhinos). The Asian rhinos Sumatran weighs (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) 400kg.while Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is 100kg and Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) weigh more than 2000kg.
Rhinos are found in parts of Africa and Asia. They live in an ecosystem ranging from forest to savanna in tropical and subtropical regions. Since they are solitary animals both male and female rhinos have their territories. Males mark and defend their territories using their cow dugs. Rhinos use their horns not only in battles for territory but also to defend themselves from any dangers like the lions which might eat their young ones. Though researchers indicate that most of the rhinos fight during courtship and as a result, most get wounded.
Rhinos give birth to only one calf after 14 to 16 months but weaning up start after one year though the calf start eating plants after one week of calving. The closest rhino relationship is between a female and her calf, lasting from 2 to 4 years. As the older calves mature, they leave their mothers and may join other females and their young, where they are tolerated for some time before living completely on their own to survive in their natural habitat
Rhinos rank among the most endangered species on Earth. This is because of the value of their horns and thus, they face a serious threat from poaching which call for government intervention to curb this menace to increasing conservation and wildlife awareness, but efforts are underway to save the rhino from extinction as they are among the Kenya big five animals which attracted thousands of tourists in the country.
Summary of Rhinos
Scientific name: Black (Diceros bicornis), white (Ceratotherium simum)
Body size: About 60 inches at the shoulder.
Body weight: 1 to 11/2 tons black rhino, over 2 tons white rhino
Lifespan: 35 to 40 years
Diet Grassland and open savannas
Gestation period: 14 to 16 months
Threats: Human beings