Wake up to the plight of one of the earth's most famous inhabitants and play your part in saving a species before it's too late. In honor of our proud partnership with Save The Rhino, we have compiled our Top 10 rhino facts to get you interested, involved and, hopefully, to tell you something about rhinos you didn't already know.
1. Rhinos are misunderstood
Many would say that rhinos have earned themselves quite a fearsome reputation, but in fact, the opposite is true. They are very nervous and jittery creatures that have poor eyesight. Rhinos are incredibly near-sighted and as such, a movement that might not seem like much to us will actually scare the life out of a rhino and that is why they charge, it has nothing to do with their temper.
2. The Javan rhino is one of the rarest large land animals on the planet
Certainly the scarcest of the rhino family, the Javan rhinoceros is a creature so rare that there is an estimated population of around 40 left in the wild. There were originally two populations left; one in Indonesia and one in Vietnam, however, as a result of poaching the population in Vietnam became extinct in 2011. Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, in Indonesia is now the only place they remain.
3. Rhinos have sensitive skin
That's right, despite their armoured hide rhino skin is actually quite vulnerable to sunburn and insect burns. But rhinos are smart. If you ever see a rhino soaked in mud this is why; the mud soothes any irritation of their skin and allows them to carry on as normal.
4. Rhinos share a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers
Everyone needs someone to watch out for and look after them; no man is an island after all. And it would appear the same applies to rhinos. The irony though is that a rhino's buddy is tiny in comparison. Known commonly as tick birds or the rhino's guard, rhinos share a symbiotic relationship with a bird called an oxpecker. These birds snaffle any insects or ticks that have designs on their rhino pal ensuring no need for a mud bath to soothe that sensitive skin. They are also very handy when danger is afoot, if they sense trouble nearby they alert their rhino by making a terrible racket.
5. Rhino horns are made from Keratin
How much would you pay for fingernails? How about $65,000 a kilo? A rhino horn is the reason they are hunted and yet the substance they are made from, Keratin, is not particularly precious at all. It is a material found in fingernails, hair and animal hooves. But it is believed by many in the East to hold medicinal properties and is used for such purposes. However, it is scientifically proven that this is untrue; there is the same amount of goodness found in a rhino horn as there is in your nails, it is only through ignorance and a perversion of the truth that one is considered more precious than the other.
6. There are two species of rhino in Africa, the black and white rhino
In spite of being almost the exact same colour, there are two species of rhino in Africa, a black rhino and a white rhino. The main difference between them is that a white rhino's lip is square while a black rhino possesses a pointed hooked lip. Black rhinos are browsers and are slightly smaller, more aggressive and solitary. They are often found in thick vegetation which is possibly the reason why the female will often run in front of her calf to clear a pathway. White rhinos are grazers and it is not uncommon to see 10 or 15 white rhinos together. They are normally found in open areas such as plains and the calf normally runs in front of its mother with the mother using her horn to direct the calf by tapping it on the ear.
7. The world's second largest land mammal
On average the white rhino weighs in at a whopping 4 - 6000 pounds, measures a titanic 12 - 15ft in length and stands at a lofty 6ft. This species of rhino is second only to the elephant in terms of size making it the world's second largest land mammal.
8. Incredible Intelligence has been observed
Through the observation of rhinos in captivity, it has been noted by keepers that rhinos possess considerable intelligence. They acknowledge and answer to their given names and quite appreciate human interaction, especially a nice scratch behind the ear or even a game of fetch. They are also capable of being trained through the use of treats and are highly cooperative when it comes to having a check-up from the vet.
9. Their closest living relatives are horses and tapirs
Despite their appearance and their inclusion in the same group of animals as elephants and hippos, known as Pachyderms, the rhino's closest living relatives are horses and tapirs. Rhinos, tapirs and horses are the only three animals in the world within the genus Perissodactyla or odd-toed ungulates. This is a group reserved for those creatures, hoofed and with an odd number of toes; the rhinos have only three toes on each foot, hence its inclusion.
10. Rhinos have walked the earth for more than 50 million years
Finally, a little fact about both humans and rhinos; homo sapiens have been on earth for an estimated 200,000 years, a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things, while rhinos have walked the earth for more than 50 million years. Somehow I think they were here first. We can stop rhino poaching now and save an ancient and fascinating creature from imminent extinction but we cannot do so without you. We've been proud partners of Save the Rhino since 2013 and share a joint vision that all rhino species will thrive in the wild for future generations.