Rhino in a field in a zoo

How Often Do Rhinos Give Birth?

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  • Post category:Rhinos
  • Post last modified:8 November 2021
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Female rhinos usually reproduce every two and a half years. This is because their pregnancies last for about 15 to 16 months.

Female rhinoceros usually have one baby, but sometimes they have twins. Sometimes the twin babies don’t survive. The baby rhinos are called calves, and they weigh around 88 to 140 pounds when they are born. When the calf is two/four years old, it can live independently from its mother.

Rhino Lifespan

Like most large land mammals, the rhinoceros also have a longer life span like the hippos and elephants.

In most cases, rhinos can live up to 50 years of age.

Unlike elephants, who loves to live in a herd, rhinos do not. They mostly lead a solitary life. 


When baby rhinos are born, they have hair all over their body. Having hair on them helps the calves stay warm at night and prevents the baby rhino from getting sunburnt. 

Even though they’re fragile when they’re born, a baby rhino can stand up and start walking only a few minutes after its birth.

At first, baby rhinos depend entirely on their mother. It is the mother rhinos that helps the baby to navigate until it becomes independent. 

Male rhinoceros break away from their mother at about two years of age, whereas the female baby breaks away from the mother when about four years old. After this time, the baby rhinos live a solitary and individual life. 

Rhinos are territorial animals. The babies need to be strong enough to form their territory and protect it. That is why female rhino babies stay with their mothers for a more extended period than male ones. Male rhino babies become bigger and stronger much quicker than their female counterparts.

Growth of the Babies

Only a couple of days after their birth, rhino babies can maintain the roaming pace of their mothers. Within the first few hours of its life, the baby rhinos start to suckle milk from their mother. 

The baby rhinoceros generally stay dependent on their mothers’ milk up to they are 18 months old. However, they are not exclusively dependent on the milk of their mother. 

The rhino mothers only allow their babies to suckle exclusively for the first two weeks. After that, she will take her baby to some soft grass and teach the calf how to eat and thrive on juicy vegetation.

The rhino babies do not have any horns at birth. The only protection it has comes from its mother. 

Mothers are very caring and attentive to every need of their babies. It is an exceptional characteristic feature of the rhino mothers because the rhinoceros are generally solitary animals.

Establishing Own Territory

Establishing their territory is not an easy task for most rhino babies. After choosing and marking their territory, the rhino babies chase away other dominant rhinos who want to encroach upon their space. That is why the rhino babies need to be strong enough to hold their ground with the older and stronger adults.

Rhinos Mating Behaviour

The female rhinoceros start to mate with dominant males when they are about four years old. On the other hand, the male rhinoceros reaches sexual maturity when they are about seven years of age. 

Once the mating process is completed, the female and male rhinos will go their separate ways. Unlike many other mammals, the rhinoceros couple does not have much to do with each other once the mating process is over. 

The male rhinoceros will try to mate with as many females as they can. However, they try not to get involved with female rhinoceros that have babies already to look after.

The female rhinos have no interest in mating with the male ones while taking care of their babies. However, in some cases, aggressive male rhinos will try to mate with female rhinos. But this often results in violence. In most cases, the aggressive male rhinoceros openly try to get rid of the baby rhino so that he can mate with the female. 

That is why many rhino babies get killed by the aggressive, dominant male rhinoceros in the wild. However, the female rhinoceros are highly protective of their babies and will do all they can to protect them and keep them safe. 

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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.