By Amelia Meyer
Rhinoceroses are usually rather shy and elusive animals. This has caused many to ask questions about them, fascinated by their mystery. Here are some of the most frequently asked rhino-related questions and their interesting answers:
Q: What is the difference between the Black Rhino and the White Rhino?
A: Despite their names, these two rhino species are actually neither black nor white, but are both shades of greys and browns. Both of these rhinos are found in Africa. The difference between these two rhino species is the shape of the upper lip. The White Rhino has a broad, flat upper lip that allows it to graze on short grasses. The name “white” comes from “weid”, meaning “wide”, in reference to this lip. The Black Rhino, on the other hand, has a hooked upper lip that enables it to pull on twigs and branches by wrapping its lip around these stalks and tugging.
Q: Of what is the rhino’s horn made?
A: itehough the rhino horn is so valuable, it is actually just made of keratin. This is the same material that makes up human hair and fingernails. In terms of the worth and effectiveness of rhino horn for medicinal purposes, the horn really has as much value as chewing our own fingernails.
Q: What would you call a group of rhinos?
A: It is not common to see groups of rhinos together. However, the White Rhino is the most social of the species. The collective name for them is “crash”;i.e. a crash of rhino.
Q: How much time do rhinos spend sleeping?
A: Rhinos need to sleep for about 8 or 9 hours each day. They will usually sleep in stages throughout the day, particularly in the heat of the day, when walking around and searching for food would be too tiresome. Rhinos sleep deeply and can even be approached, undetected, while asleep. Q: How thick is a rhino’s skin?
A: The skin of the rhinoceros is thick in some places, and thinner in others. At its thickest, the skin is about 45 millimetres (or 1.8 inches) thick. Thin skin is about 20 millimetres (or just under an inch) thick. This skin acts as protective armour against the thorns and branches of its habitat and, therefore, needs to be thick and hardy. However, it also needs to allow the animal to move freely.
Q: Are rhinos aggressive?
A: Rhinoceroses are actually shy creatures that prefer to be left alone. Therefore, they will most often avoid confrontation. However, when they feel threatened, they may well charge at their perceived threat in order to oust the danger. Due to their very bad eyesight, these are blind charges and may cause extensive damage, since the animal simply runs until it hits something at full speed.
Q: For what does a rhino use its horn?
A: While the African rhinos may use their horns occasionally in battling with one another, these tools are actually more commonly used for digging up roots, finding water beneath the ground’s surface, moving tough branches out of the way, and so on. These horns are also one way of impressing prospective mates.
Q: How does a rhinoceros keep cool?
A: Rhinos love to wallow in mud, covering as much of their body in it as possible. This then hardens and forms a protective barrier between the skin and the scorching sun. In addition, rhinos will drink water whenever possible so that they are hydrated. By moving around in the cooler times of the day and sleeping when the sun is at its most intense, rhinos prevent themselves from over-heating.
Q: Do rhinos have predators?
A: Young rhinos that are small and weak may succumb to wild cats or dogs. However, the only real threat to rhinos in general is the human being.