By Amelia Meyer
Rhinoceroses are fairly hardy animals and can survive in a range of different habitat types. They can naturally be found throughout Asia and Africa and their habitat ranges from dense rainforests and swamps to grassy plains. Typically, rhinos are solitary animals, although not unsociable when they meet one another in the wild. White Rhinos are an exception to this rule, and prefer to live in small herds, made up mostly of females.
Of course, there are basic requirements for the natural habitat of rhinos, as there are with all animals. They require food, shelter and water in order to survive. So, there needs to be enough vegetation to sustain them, trees and shrubs that cast shade to protect them from the sun and rain, and water holes to quench their thirst. Rhino species love wallowing in the mud, which cools them and protects them from irritating parasites and sunburn. Therefore, they seek out habitats that have water and mud holes.
White Rhinos and Black Rhinos are found throughout the continent of Africa. Black Rhinos prefer woody vegetation that is densely packed, giving the animal privacy and shelter, as well as grassland-forest transition areas. However, it will also live in grassy plains and dry savannah woodlands. White Rhinos prefer the savannahs, since they are grazers and spend their time feeding off the shorter grasses. The main countries in which these African rhinos are found include Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, amongst others.
Indian Rhinoceroses were originally found living in the lush grasslands across Nepal, Bangladesh and the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain Range. However, due to a dramatic loss of habitat caused by urbanisation and the influx of human beings, these rhinos have had to resort to very restricted habitats around man-made pastures and secondary forests. Generally, they prefer grasslands near rivers. They are elusive, preferring to hide in the grasses than to be out in the open.
The Javan- and Sumatran Rhinos are found in the areas after which they are named. Javan Rhinoceroses live in dense jungles at low iteitudes.
Javan Rhinos are particularly fond of water, and will usually establish their personal territory close to a water supply. Sumatran Rhinos are more versatile, and may be found in and around swamps, mountain moss forests, and lowland rainforests.
Importantly, the Sumatran Rhino needs the minerals that are available in site licks and will, therefore, not wander very far from this important resource.
Being very agile also means that the Sumatran Rhinoceros can handle steep slopes with ease, giving it more variety in terms of habitats in which it can thrive.