Traits of the Rhino

By Naomi Millburn

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The world of rhinoceroses consists of five distinct remaining species, three of which hail from Asia and two of which are African natives. These immense mammals across the board are notable for their horns. White, black and Sumatran rhinos all possess pairs of horns, and Indian and Javan rhinos both have just single horns. Rhinos use their horns for a variety of different purposes, including self-defense and foraging in the dirt for sustenance. While these species do indeed all have similarities, they also have their own separate traits and characteristics. As far as similarities go, female rhinos in general tend to be very motherly, usually closely tending to their calves for between two and four years.

Black Rhinoceros Traits

The black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), contrary to its naming, is actually gray in coloration. One of the most prominent features of the solitary, herbivorous black rhino is its top lip, which has a tapered and sharp tip to it -- handy for seizing sustenance such as twigs and foliage. The typical weight range for black rhinos is between 1,760 and 3,080 pounds, according to National Geographic. From the shoulder, these solitary grassland, desert and forest inhabitants are usually between 4.5 and 6 feet tall. The black rhino diet consists twigs, shrubs and bushes. Predators include hyenas and lions.

White Rhinoceros Traits

The white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is another gray creature, just like the black rhino. White rhinos are enormous, and actually are the planet's second biggest mammals on land. The weight range for these herbivores is anywhere from 3,168 and 7,920 pounds. Height-wise, they usually are in the realm of 5 and 6 feet. White rhinos are practically hairless and have lengthier skulls than black rhinos. In terms of natural habitat, these grazers usually live in open woodland environments. White rhinos are relatively companionable animals and typically reside in units of up to 14 individuals. Food-wise, they eat mostly short grasses. With the exception of human beings, white rhinos do not have natural predators.

Indian Rhinoceros Traits

The Indian or greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is an Asian native that lives in Nepal and in the northern region of India. These brownish-gray mammals usually weigh approximately 4,400 pounds, with shoulder heights of upwards of 6 feet. Indian rhinos usually inhabit alluvial plains, but also frequently live in forests and marshes. Indian rhinos have "vulnerable" population status, as only about 2,000 of them still roam the planet, indicates the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species as of 2008. For the most part, Indian rhinos are solitary. They eat a lot of grass, foliage, fruit and branches, too. As far as predation goes, tigers occasionally prey on wee calves.

Sumatran Rhinoceros Traits

The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is a critically endangered animal, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These brown or deep gray animals live both in Malaysia and Indonesia, and typically weigh in the ballpark of 1,760 pounds, with average heights between 48 and 58 inches. Under 250 adult Sumatran rhinos are believed to still exist, as of 2008. Sumatran rhinos generally take up residence in montane moss forest habitats and in areas that have ample hills. These solitary rhinos consume mostly bark, bamboo, twigs, foliage and wild mangoes. Tigers are occasionally predators of Sumatran rhinos.

Javan Rhinoceros Traits

The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), like a couple other rhino species, is also endangered -- and very critically so. These solitary gray tropical forest dwellers live exclusively in Indonesia on the island of Java's Ujung Kulon National Park, and only about 40 to 60 of them still exist, as of 2008. The weight range for Javan rhinos is usually between 1,984 and 5,071 pounds, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Food favorites for Javan rhinos include fruit, twigs, shoots and tender leaves. Humans are the only predators of Javan rhinos.

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