Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis
The Black Rhino is not black, nor is the White Rhino
white. The name 'White' Rhino comes from the Dutch word for 'wide', referring to its wide mouth - conversely, the 'Black' Rhino is simply named the opposite of 'white'. The closest either come to black or white, is after rolling in mud, or when wet. Normally they are varying shades of grey or brown.
The Black Rhino has a hook (pointed) mouth and does not have a hump on its neck. It also walks with its head up, unlike the White Rhino, who walks with head down. Also, they are usually found in different habitats. Longevity
After a gestation period of approximately 15 months (second longest only to Elephants), a calf is born, weighing about 90lbs (40kg). It stays with its mother for between two and four years. Black Rhinos live for around 40 years. Predators
Man is the primary predator. Despite the Black Rhino's horn being keratin (not ivory, like Elephants), it is high on poachers agendas. They were brought to the verge of extinction, before being placed in well-guarded parks. Less than 1,000 are left in Kenya. Behaviour
Usually solitary, although tolerance to others is shown at watering holes. During the day, Black Rhinos are usually found in dense cover, staying out of the heat of the sun. In the cool of the day and at night, they browse in woodland, near water.
Bulls and cows are only seen together when mating.
The Black Rhino's reputation for agression is often over-stated, however, two bulls will fight for dominance, although true territories are not held.
Mostly quiet, the only sounds they make are snorts, wheezes. squeals, grunts or a hig-pitched scream. These sounds are believed to be a form of 'conversation' and are not random. Some sounds carry over a vast distance and could be a form of calling, for a mate, for instance. Their vocabulary is unlikely to be large, due to their brain-size - only 1lb (500gms) and less than half the weight of a human's.
Despite a Black Rhino's sight being bad, its sense of hearing and smell is incredible - it can smell a human from a mile away. The greatest guard from being attacked by a Rhino is walk slowly away - they panic if they can smell or sense something they cannot see and will most likely charge if you stand still. Diet
Black Rhinos are very selective feeders, browsing on tender young shoots. Green grass and fruits are eaten, but in varying quantities. They have very sharp cheek-teeth, cutting through twigs neatly. The prehensile upper lip is very dexterious and is able to pick the smallest leaf from a branch. There are also reports of the Black Rhino opening gates and even car doors..!! Other Facts
The word Rhinoceros means 'water horse' in Latin and surprisingly, Rhinos are more closely related to horses than the similar looking Hippo
, a true 'water horse'. Photographs
Photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara and Nairobi National Park.