Rhino in a field in a zoo

11 Must-Know Facts About The Rhinocerous

The below will teach you eleven must-know facts about the rhinoceros that I have put together. If you are new to learning about these animals, I suggest starting with these. Enjoy!

1. Rhino Horns Are Not Made Out Of Bone

The rhinoceros horn is made of Keratin, the same protein that you can find in your nails and hair. Contrary to popular belief, the horn of a rhino is not an extension of its skull. 

2. A Rhino Horn Continues To Grow

Just like the hoofs of a horse, rhinoceros horns continue to grow throughout their lives. That is why even if the horn gets broken during a fight, it can grow back.

3. The Longest Ever Recorded Horn Size

The longest rhinoceros horn that has been measured to date was just under 60 inches.

4. Rhinos Are Also Known as Pachyderms

Even though most people do not know this fact, the rhinoceros is also known as the pachyderm. The term pachyderm comes from two separate Greek words pachy and derma. The word ”pachy” means thick, while ”derma” means skin. 

Pachyderms Group Is No Longer

Many decades ago, zoologists across the world created a special group of animals with thick skin. The rhinoceros belong to this group along with horses, hipposelephants, pigs, and hyraxes. All these animals were called pachyderms. Even though this classification is not considered beneficial these days, the name is still in use.

5. Sometimes Rhinos Live In Groups

Everyone knows that the rhinoceros is a solitary animal that loves to live alone in the wild. However, there are some instances where you can see a group of rhinoceroses living together. This kind of group is often formed by the female and baby rhinoceroses. 

The group of rhinoceroses can contain about 20 individual animals. Even though most of the mother and their babies together become members of such a pack, sometimes a single female rhinoceros also joins the group. This type of rhinoceros group is known as a crash.

6. Third Largest Land Mammal

Rhinoceroses are the third largest land mammals roaming in the wild. The African and Asian elephants have taken the first two places. 

Sumatran rhinoceros are the smallest of them all, and their weight is about 500 kgs. 

The white rhinoceros is the largest. 

Adult white male rhinoceros can weigh up to 6000 pounds. 

The head of these rhinoceroses can alone weigh more than 2000 pounds. 

The height of the rhinoceros also varies significantly from one species to the next. 

The adult white rhinoceros can be as big as 5 to 6 feet tall.

7. Herbivorous Animal

Even though the rhinoceros are enormous animals, they are not carnivorous. Like elephants, rhinoceroses are also entirely vegetarian, and they mainly feed on grass, roots, fruits, edible parts of trees, leaves, and shrubs.

8. They Eat A Lot

Depending on their size and species, on average, an adult rhinoceros can eat up to 100 pounds per day.

9. Different Shape Lips To Suit Their Environment (Black & White Rhinos)

Black and white rhinoceros can be found in Africa, and their eating habits are not the same. 

The white rhinoceroses are grazers, and the black rhinoceros are browsers. 


The white rhinoceros are grazers meaning they generally feed on grass and edible roots that grow on the ground. 


The black rhinoceroses are browsers that mainly depend on the leaves, fruits, and other edible parts of the plant that grow a couple of feet above the ground. 

Grazers have a flat lip structure, and browsers have a hook lip structure to help them reach the food.

Browsers live in dense bush forests, and grazers live in open grasslands.

10. Rhino Pregnancy Last for A Long Time

It is not very surprising that rhinoceroses have a long gestation period. The only other animal that has the most prolonged gestation period other than the rhinoceros is the elephant

Female rhinoceros can carry their babies for about 16 months

In most cases, a mother rhino carries a single baby per pregnancy. 

Rhino Baby Twins

However, there are incidents where a rhino mother has given birth to twins. However, this type of pregnancy does not bear good results. In most cases, the twins cannot survive due to a shortage of food and care.

11. Rhinos And Oxpeckers Share A Great Relationship

You can often find small birds sitting on the rhinoceros’ back and picking something off their skin. These tiny birds are known as Oxpeckers, and they form a unique relationship with the rhinoceroses. These birds also sit on rhinos doing the exact same thing.

Rhino Guards

In the Swahili language, the oxpecker birds are known as Askari Wa Kifaru, which means rhinos guards.

While sitting on the back of a rhinoceros, the birds eat insects, parasites, and dead skin from the rhino skin. 

While doing that, if these birds sense danger, they start a commotion right away. This often alerts the rhino of a potential threat hence why they are called rhino guards.

As the rhinos do not have a good vision, they often rely on the alert signals of the Oxpeckers birds sitting on their back.

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She is also a avid binge watcher of wild animal documentary's. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. She has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.