EcoTraining Guides & Guardians in South Africa offers some interesting facts about the second largest African land animal — the noble rhino:
- In Ancient Greek, the name rhinoceros means “nose horn.”
- There are five different rhino species including the black and white Rhino of Africa, and the Sumatran, Javan and Indian species found in Asia.
- The rhinoceros has been around for over 50 million years.
- Rhinos once roamed North America and Europe, too. Around 30,000 years ago, humans in southern France were painting images of rhinos in an underground gallery that’s now called Chauvet Cave.
- White rhinos need to spend about 50% of their time feeding on grass in order to give them enough calories to support their large bodies.
- You will occasionally find rhinos munching on soil, a practice called “geophagia.” Similar to humans taking vitamin supplements, the animals do this to absorb extra minerals that may be lacking in their all-grass diet.
- Despite their enormous size and bulkiness, white rhinos can run as fast as 25 miles per hour.
- Believe it or not, rhinos are related to the horse and zebra.
- With rhino horn valued more than cocaine, South Africa is losing approximately three rhinos a day due to illegal poaching. It’s sad to think that if we continue to lose them at this rate, rhinos could soon become extinct.