White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family:    Rhinocerotidae
Size:    Height: 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) at the shoulder  Length: 11 to 13.25 feet (3.4 to 4.1 m)
Weight: 4,000 to 6,000 pounds (1,814 to 2,722 kg)
Diet: A wide variety of plants and fruit
Distribution: Northeastern and southern Africa 
Young:  1 calf every 2 to 4 years
Animal Predators:  None
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Calf    Female: Cow  Male: Bull
Lifespan: 40 to 60 years



·       All five rhino species are threatened with extinction and are included on the IUCN Red List.

·       White rhinos are one of the largest land animals.

·       The scientific name is derived from Greek and means: Cerato—horn; therium—wild beast; simum—flat nosed.

·       They are called white not because they really are white, but from the Afrikaans word describing their mouth: weit, meaning wide.

·       The white rhinoceros is also called the “square-lipped rhinoceros.”

·       They have very poor eyesight, but a good sense of hearing and smell. 



Both males and females have two horns. The front horn is usually an average of two feet (61 cm) in length, but can grow to over five feet (1.5 m), while the back horn is much shorter, usually only six to 23 inches (15 to 57 cm). The horn is made of keratin, the same material found in human fingernails. They have a square front lip, which distinguishes them from the similar-looking black rhinoceroses. Their skin is grey and their ears and nostrils tend to be large, while their eyes are small. They have a slight hump on top of the neck. 



White rhinos roam in grasslands and savannahs that have plenty of trees, water and mud wallows. 


Feeding Habits

White rhinos graze mainly on grass, but also drink almost on a daily basis, although they can survive up to four days when water is unavailable. They spend a total of 12 hours per day grazing. 



Females are capable of mating once they reach the age of six, while males must wait until they are 10 to 12 years of age. Following mating, the female goes through a 16-month pregnancy, and gives birth to a single calf that weighs approximately four percent of the mother’s weight. The calf nurses for up to two years and will stay with the mother for up to four years, or until another calf is born. 



White rhinos are the most social rhinoceroses. Females with offspring sometimes form groups, as do young, weaned rhinos. Males are solitary, unless looking for a mate. At mud wallows, white rhinos roll in the mud to coat themselves all over for protection from the sun and from parasites. They are generally docile and peaceful animals, unless threatened when wounded or when with a calf. They can run at 18 mph (29 kph) for at least two miles (5 km) and can gallop as fast as 25 mph (40 kph).



There are two subspecies of white rhino. The northern white rhino is considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN, and can only be found in the African countries of Sudan and the Congo. The numbers of the southern white rhino were also extremely low at one point, but they have been reintroduced to Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, and Zambia. They can also be found in South Africa. The main conservation concerns regarding white rhinos are habitat loss and hunting.