Rhinos—with their awe-inducing presence and unique appearance—are some of the most fascinating animals on the planet. They’re massive and look prehistoric, almost as if you’re looking at a dinosaur in real time. And sadly, their fate is bordering on that of the dino as they are one of the most threatened species on the planet. To celebrate the majestic mammal of World Rhino Day (September 22), here are 15 amazing facts about the creatures. BBC
There are a total of five different kinds of rhinos. And while you may think of them wandering through Africa, they’re also found throughout Asia. The types are the Black rhino and the White rhino—they live in Africa—and the Sumatran, Javan, and Indian (or greater one-horned) rhino—they live in the tropical forests and swamps of Asia. They are native to eastern and southern Africa, as well as India, Nepal, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Rhinos are famous for their horns, and they were named for their signature feature. But the moniker isn’t super creative. The word rhinoceros is a literal mix of two Greek words that best describe how they look: rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).
White Rhinos are the Third Largest Land Mammal
White rhinoceros are the third largest land mammal after the African and Asian elephants. The white rhinoceros is also the largest rhinoceros species and can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. Their heads alone can weight up to 2,000 pounds, and they’re typically between 5 and 6 feet tall.
Rhinos are Herbivores
For their size, you’d suspect that they’re big meat eaters. But they’re vegetarians that can eat up to 100 pounds of food a day. Depending on the species, they eat leaves, fruit, grasses, stems, and twigs.
Not All Rhinos Use Their Horns to Fight
You’d think that having a huge weapon right on your face would be an obvious instrument for battle, but some rhinos actually use their teeth when they need to in a fight. The three Asian species (Sumatran, Javan, and Indian) use their lower outer incisor teeth instead of their horns. The teeth of Indian rhinoceroses can reach 5 inches in length, leaving a nasty mark if used to fight off other rhinos or predators. But the African species (the Black rhino and the White rhino) don’t have these long incisors and do fight with their horns.
They Also Leave Massive Dumps
Rhinos can produce as much as 50 pounds of dung a day, according to the International Rhino Foundation. Their poop also plays a big role in marking their territory as each rhino’s poop has a unique smell, and male rhinos utilize it to keep others off their area. They can make between 20 to 30 piles to make sure that other rhinos know to stay away.
They Have Super Sensitive Skin
Even though they live in some of the hottest and sunniest climates, their skin isn’t that well equipped to handle it. Rhinos can sunburn easily and are also susceptible to bad bug bites. To remedy this, rhinos often take mud baths to put a protective layer between their skin and the sun and pestering bugs.
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