Black Rhinoceros

Black Rhinoceros

Diceros bicornis

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Quick Facts

Height: 4.5' to 5.5' at the shoulder
Weight: 2,200 lbs to 3,200 lbs
Distribution: Africa south of the Sahara
Habitat: Thick brush, acacia scrub, and open country
Wild Diet: Shrubs, fiber, herbs, and leaves
Zoo Diet: Alfalfa hay, grass hay, grain pellets, fruits, vegetables, vitamin supplements and browse

Giants of the Savannah

Black rhinos are quadrupedal (they walk on four legs) and walk on their toes, with their feet supported by a fleshy pad. They run quickly and are capable of reaching speeds up to 35 mph. They are generally solitary animals. Black rhinos do not generally form organized social groups, though they sometimes congregate in small groups for short periods of time. Though generally quiet, black rhinos use a variety of vocalizations, including a long snort for anger, a short snort for alarm, a lion-like growl for fighting, a variety of squeaks for different emotions, and a puffing snort for greetings between males and females. Black rhinos also use their tail and ears to communicate. An upturned tail can mean the rhino is alarmed or curious; straight-up ears can mean the rhino is interested or curious; flat ears can mean anger.

Description

Black rhinos range in coloration from dark reddish-brown to dark brown but are primarily dark gray and may resemble the mud they wallow in. They have two distinct horns on the snout; the one in the front is the larger. Their horns continue to grow throughout their lives. Their skin is very thick and has deep folds. They have a heavy body, a short neck, and a large head. Black rhinos are almost completely hairless. Each foot has three toes. They use their prehensile (grasping) upper lip to hold food.

Status in the Wild

Black rhinos have been hunted almost to extinction for their horns. They are also threatened by habitat loss and human encroachment and their population is estimated to have decreased by approximately 96% between 1970 and 1992.

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