A Charging Rhino
Charging Rhino

Are Rhinos Dangerous?

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  • Post category:Rhinos
  • Post last modified:9 November 2021
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Rhinos are big, strong animals. If they want to, they can be very dangerous. They usually lead a solitary life; however, a rhino will directly charge at the perceived threat to intimidate or even start a fight whenever they feel threatened. Rhinos don’t go looking for trouble; however, they will deal with it aggressively when it comes their way.


Rhinos don’t have great eyesight because generally dont need to see far in the distance since these gigantic animals do not need excellent vision to protect themselves from predators. 

Their lack of eyesight dont act as the weakness of rhinoceroses. If anything, the fact that they have weak vision makes these animals even more dangerous. 

As these animals cannot rely on their eyesight to determine whether the approaching animal or human is friendly or not, anything that enters its territory is perceived as a threat to them.


That is why it is hard to judge the reaction of a rhino if a visitor enters their territory. A rhino may see them as a threat and charge towards them in preemptive self-defence.

The rhinos generally use their horns as a weapon. However, that does not mean it is the only weapon that they have. Along with the horn, rhinos also use their formidable speed and size and the lower incisor teeth to attack the perceived threat. Rhinoceroses can knock over a vehicle full of people with ease.

Mercurial Animals

Rhinos can be classed as mercurial animals meaning sudden or unpredictable changes of mood. If a rhino is in an attacking mode, there is hardly any other animal as dangerous as it.

However, if they are not in the mood of fighting, they might leave you alone without giving you even a second glance.

Sometimes it all depends on the individual rhino’s character and the situation they are in. For example, mother rhinos will be on high alert, male rhinos looking for a mate will also be considered dangerous. However, rhinos that are not in these heightened situations will ignore what once would be a threat.

Some rhinos will even run away from various situations instead of confronting the threat. 

As rhinos can run up to 40 miles per hour, they can make a speedy getaway when required. Generally, rhinos live a very solitary life, and they do not pick fights with other rhinos or animals for no reason. The only time rhinos charge towards others is when they feel highly threatened.

Protective Nature

If you think that rhinos only think about protecting themselves from the perceived threats, you are wrong. Rhinos can be protective of each other as well. 

Even though rhinoceros mostly live a solitary life, the female rhinos are very protective of their babies. The rhino babies stay with their mothers for more than two years. During that time, the mother rhino becomes very protective of their young. 

While taking care of their babies, the mother rhino does not mate with the males, and they do not hesitate even for a second to defend their babies when necessary. 

If she feels that her baby is being threatened in any way, she instantly becomes a very dangerous opponent.

Predators Of The Rhino

As the rhinos are such powerful animals, they do not have many predators in the wild. Even though big cats and other predators can hunt baby rhinos, they do not dare hunt down a fully grown adult rhinoceros. 

Even though these animals are very dangerous, they have still become endangered in the last few decades. Poaching is partly responsible for this affair. 

As rhinoceroses horns hold a great value in the black market in some parts of the world, these animals are sadly getting killed to maintain the supply chain.

Which rhino species is the most dangerous?

Among all the five existing rhinos species, the Black rhino is the most aggressive one. However, the white rhinoceroses are responsible for more human deaths than the black rhinoceros. The reason is the number of white rhinoceros is far greater than the black ones in the African wild.

How can you survive a rhinoceros attack?

Let’s hope you are never in a situation where you need to instigate any of these below. But these should help when in time of need. 

Stay still

As we have already mentioned, rhinoceroses do not have excellent eyesight. So, they cannot see you clearly while charging towards you. As these gigantic animals do not see well, they may mistake you for a tree or some overgrowth and completely ignore you. In such a situation, it is always better to stay rooted in the place you are standing.

Stay Downwind

It is the rule of the Jungle always to stay downwind if you want to avoid predators. This rule is applicable for the rhinoceroses as well. Like many other animals, rhinos can also sense the presence of other animals through their smell. If you maintain a downwind position, the chances are the rhinos will not be able to smell you.

Climb A Tree

If you have the opportunity, you should try to climb up on a tree as fast as possible. Even though Rhinos are extremely powerful, they cannot climb. So, if you can go up a couple of feet from the ground, the chances are, these animals will not be pursuing you. If you do not know how to climb a tree, standing behind one can be another good option at the time of need.

Use Your Voice

Even if it may not seem likely, shouting can help you to avoid the attack. It is better to create a sound that is familiar to the rhinoceros. That means you can try clapping, singing, and shouting to stop a rhino from charging towards you.

Run In A Zigzag

If you want to outrun a rhinoceros, you should try to run in a zigzag pattern. It will enhance your chances to avoid the attacks of the rhinoceros. If the rhino misses you while chasing, you might try to turn around and run in the other direction.

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. Teresa has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.