White Rhinoceros Fact Sheet

Common Name:

White Rhinoceros, Square-lipped Rhinoceros

Scientific Name:

Ceratotherium simum

Wild Status:

Near Threatened

Habitat:

Grasslands and Savannah Woodlands

Country:

South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda

Shelter:

Woodlands

Life Span:

40 to 50 years

Size:

Male: 5,100 lbs & 12 - 13 feet, Female: 3,700 lbs & 11 - 12 feet

Cool Facts:

  • The White Rhinoceros is the second largest mammal in the world.
  • The name White Rhinoceros possibly came from a mistranslation of Dutch word "wijd", which means "wide" in English.  The wijd became white.
  • They can weigh up to 2 tons.
  • There used to be 30 species of Rhino and now there are 5 and all of them are endangered.
  • They are actually gray in color and not white.
  • They have great hearing and keen sense of smell
  • They have 2 horns, one more prominent than the other, and the horns grow as much as 3 inches a year.
  • Many Rhinos are killed for their horns.
  • They are herbivores.

Details:

The White Rhinoceros lives in South Africa and is in danger of becoming extinct. The White Rhino is the largest of the 5 species and weighs more than a hippopotamus. They have a large head, wide mouth, and massive body. They also have a noticeable hump on the back of their neck. They have great hearing and sense of smell but poor eyesight. They eat grass about half the day and drink water twice a day but can last for up to 4 or 5 days without water.  They like to wallow in mudholes to cool down on hot days. They can produce different sounds during courtship and when threatened. They live in herds or crashes of up to 14 usual females at a time and the adult bulls tend to be solitary. They mark their territory with urine and excrement. The dung is in 20 to 30 piles to alert other Rhinos to it's territory. The female Rhino can begin reproducing at 6 to 7 years old and courtship is difficult. The females may act aggressively and the male will call out. He may chase or block her way if she tries to leave. Breeding pairs stay together for 5 to 20 days before they part their ways. The gestation period is 16 months and babies are weaned form 2 months up to 12 months. Mother Rhinos are very protective of their young and they have no natural predators except in the case of a rare attack by a lion pride.  

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Perissodactyla Family: Rhinocerotidae Genus: Ceratotherium Species: Ceratotherium simim

Conservation & Helping:

The White Rhino is near threatened due to uncontrolled hunting and poaching for their horns. Poachers are willing to risk death and prison time to continue poaching.  They are even using social media to locate where Rhinos are for tourist attractions. Many organizations are working to try and protect the White Rhino such as WWF, who have appointed special prosecutors for Rhino crimes. TRAFFIC, the world’s largest wildlife trade monitoring network, is working on enforcement laws.

For Teachers and Educators

White-Rhinoceros-Fact-Sheet.pdf

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