Thursday, August 22, 2019

Black Rhinoceros

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Quick Facts

Length: 10 to 12 feet

Height: 4.5 to 5.5 feet

Weight: 1,750 to 3,000 pounds

The Black Rhinocerosis distinguished by a prehensile upper lip that is used to feed on twigs of woody and herbaceous plants and a variety of herbaceous plants.

The two horns of the black rhinoceros are made entirely of thousands of compressed hair-like strands of keratin (like hair and fingernail fibres), making it extremely hard and tough, but it can be broken or split during fighting. The front (anterior) horn is longer than the rear (posterior) horn, averaging at around 50 cm long.

Rhinos can’t see very well, and anything farther than 35 feet away from the rhino appears blurry. To make up for this poor eyesight, rhinos have an excellent sense of hearing.

Black Rhinoceros are found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, savannas and shrublands, although their preferred habitat is the transitional zone between grassland and forest. Black rhinos are generally solitary, although small groups often congregate at wallows and salt-licks.

Female Black Rhinos reach sexual maturity around 4–5 years old but have their first calf at around 7. Males breed later as they need the size and strength to be able to compete with other males; they generally start to claim territories and mate at 10–12 years old.

During the 19th century, as European influence over land use and trade strengthened, the black rhino, which was the most numerous rhino species with several hundred thousand animals, was hunted relentlessly across most of Africa. They were once found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa with the exception of the Congo Basin. The species is currently found in patchy distribution from Kenya down to South Africa. However, almost 98% of the total population is found in just 4 countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya with a total wild number of about 5,000.

Fun Facts

  • The greatest threat to black rhinos is poaching to satisfy demand for traditional Chinese medicine in East Asia. The rhino horn is made out of simple keratin; the same protein as all mammals’ hair and nails are made from. Despite this, they are used in Chinese medicine for an array of unrelated illnesses; fueling the rhino horn trade.
  • Black Rhinos actually have dark-brown or dark-grey skin, not black.
  • Black Rhinos are known to be aggressive and will charge at incoming threats, reaching speeds of 34 mph (55 km per hour).
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