Today, we’re going across the globe to Africa and Asia to learn more about rhinoceroses and where you can see them right here in North America (hint: it’s at Busch Gardens Tampa). Here are 10 interesting facts about rhinos:
How many species of rhinos are there?
There are five extant species of rhino – white and black (found in Africa), Indian, Javan, and Sumatran (found in southern Asia).
They Are Some of the Biggest Animals in the World
White rhinos are the largest of the five species and can grow to 1.8m tall and weigh a massive 2,500kg!
They Are Herbivores
Despite their huge size, rhinos don’t prey on other animals. They’re herbivores and eat lots of grass and plants.
They Like to Be By Themselves
For the most part rhinos are solitary animals and avoid each other. But some species, like the white rhino, live in groups. A Group of Rhinos is called a ‘crash.’ These crashes are usually made up of a female and her calves, and sometimes adult females (called cows) can be seen together.
They Love Birds
While they don’t’ always hang out with each other, they do like to hang out with birds. Rhinos are often seen with Oxpeckers (or ‘tick birds’) perched on their back. The birds eat the parasitic insects living in the rhino’s thick skin. Additionally, the birds’ loud cries also help alert rhinos of potential danger.
Rhinoceros Means ‘Nose’ and ‘Horn’
Not surprisingly the Greek words for rhinoceros mean nose (rhino) and horn (ceros).
What About Their Horns?
Speaking of horns, rhinos have giant horns that grow from their snouts. Javan and Indian rhinos have one horn and the white, black and Sumatran rhinos have two.
How Many Teeth Do They Have?
Depending on the species, rhinos have between 24 to 34 teeth.
Why Do They Like Mud So Much?
During the day, rhinos can be found sleeping in the shade or wading in muddy pools to cool off. They love the mud because it protects their skin from the sun and wards off biting bugs.
There Main Threat is Illegal Hunting
It is estimated that there are only around 29,000 rhinos left in the wild, compared to 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. Rhinos are hunted for their horns, which are used in traditional folk medicine, particularly in Asia.
You can watch and learn more about rhinos at the Serengeti Plain at Busch Gardens Tampa. The park is even home to a baby rhino named Winnifred, who is a southern white rhino already weighing in at more than 200 pounds.