The black rhinoceros is noted for being ill-tempered and very aggressive, often charging for no apparent reason. Although normally slow moving, the rhino can charge at an alarming rate of speed, and it can easily kill whatever it hits with its deadly pointed horns. The horn is made up of matted hair, and poachers market it as a medicine.
The black rhino is easily distinguished from its white cousin because it is shorter and has a smaller head and ears. It also has a uniquely long and pointed upper lip, which it uses to gather leaves, acacia bark, and shoots. Its keen sense of smell and hearing make up for its weak eyes.
The male weighs up to one ton (907 kg); the female is usually smaller. Rhinos have two and sometimes three horns. Black rhinos are browsers that seldom graze. They feed in the early morning and late afternoon.
Rhinos live in bush country, grasslands, and open forests. They have paths throughout their territories that normally include one or two watering holes. They love to wallow in the mud to keep cool, and to protect their skin from the sun and insects.
The breeding season is all year with a gestation period of 18 months. The female rhinos normally bear a single offspring, which can weigh 77 to 88 pounds (35–40 kg) at birth. Newborn rhinos are up and walking within three hours and are weaned at about two years of age. Babies are born when there is plenty of food for the mother, insuring good nourishment for the young. The males are solitary, and the females usually keep their young with them.
Man is the most serious threat to the existence of the black rhinoceros. The rhino has been hunted almost to extinction for its horn.
Perissodactyla • Rhinocerotidae • Diceros Bicornis
Height: 5 feet (1.6 m)
Weight: 1 ton (907 kg)
Length: 11 feet (3.4 m)
Life Span: 45 years
Special Design Feature: The black rhinoceros has a very keen sense of smell and hearing.
Did You Know? The horn of the black rhinoceros is made up of matted hair.
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