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White Rhinoceros

Ceratotherium simum

Description - Other Names - Distribution - Taxonomy

White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) Silhouette

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Description

White Rhino showing wide mouth © R Hann

White Rhino showing wide mouth © C Du PlessisThe White Rhinoceros is the most common of all rhino species. They live in the savannah and grassland areas of southern Africa and Kenya. ("White" was derived from the Afrikaans word "wyd", meaning "wide", referring to their lip.)

They are huge animals with large heads hung low to the ground. They have two powerful Keratin horns on their snout. (Keratin is the hard substance found in human fingernails and hair.) They rely on their keen hearing and sharp sense of smell as they have poor eyesight.

The White Rhinoceros is a grazer and spends most of the day feeding on short grass, which it eats using its wide, flat upper lip. They also cool themselves in muddy water holes. The mud helps to control their body temperature and skin parasites. They also rely on oxpeckers and egrets to get rid of these parasites from their skin. Their skin colour is effected by the colour of ground and mud of their habitat. They will drink twice a day and can survive for up to 5 days without water.

The females and juveniles are very social and can found in herds of around 14 head. The mature male bulls live alone and are territorial. They will fight over a female to mate with. The females however, do not protect their territory and move around. The mother gives birth to one calf whom she is very protective over after a gestation period of 16 - 18 months.

Other Names

Distribution

Distribution map of the White Rhinoceros
Distribution map
of the
White Rhinoceros

Taxonomy

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