Rhinos (lat. Rhinocerotclassae) are large mammals and are members of the equid family. Only 5 species have survived to this day.
The habitat of three of them is limited to the territory of Asia. Two more species - the white rhino and the black rhino - occupy the territory of Western and Central Africa; they separated five million years ago. The largest number of individuals belongs to Indian rhinos. The famous rhinoceros horn is represented by a layered formation of keratin.
The paleontological history of the rhinoceros family is quite complex. The ancestors of these animals were America's running rhinos from the early Tertiary group, which are comparable to ancient horses. Their physique could be either light or heavy (rhinos with short legs). Modern rhinos appeared in the Eocene, and by the Oligocene they were represented by a large number of genera and species. At that time, rhinos were widely populated in Eurasia.
Rhinos are one of the largest land animals. After elephants, they rank second in size. The body length of a rhinoceros can reach four meters (on average, three meters). And the weight is not so small: it fluctuates between two and four tons.
Rhinos are on the verge of extinction. The rhino tribe was once very numerous. The remaining 5 species are now on the verge of extinction. For example, the Javanese rhino now lives only on the island of Java, and even then the life of these individuals is under the strict control of people - in the reserve. And on the island of Sumatra, there are neither few nor many, but only about forty rhinos.
A characteristic feature of a rhinoceros is the presence of a horn on the nose or forehead. If there are two of them, then the horn closer to the nose is larger. The size of the horn varies from very small (when it is represented by a small tubercle) and up to one meter. It all depends on its use. For example, the height of the horns of Indian rhinos can reach 60 centimeters, African rhinos - meters.
The horn is the reason for the extermination of rhinos. Yes Yes! An excellent weapon also has healing properties - so it was believed in the East. And although the medicine of Europe scientifically proved the inconsistency of this judgment, the legend of its miraculous power continues to live in the minds of people, which prompts them to prey. Medicines made from rhino horns are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine - they are also included in the elixirs of longevity.
Black and white rhinos differ in color. No, it’s not. They are exactly the same color. Where did such names come from? It is believed that the error was due to the fault of the British colonists. They misunderstood the Dutch word "wijd", which they decoded as "white", although it meant "wide". Thus, rhinos with a wide mouth came into the form of white rhinos. Black rhinos have come to be called rhinos with a narrow mouth. Here's a story.
Rhinos are long-lived. For example, in zoos, their lifespan reaches half a century.
Rhinos are vegetarians. The nutritional base of these animals is grass. Although the Indian and black rhinos still diversified their diet a little with leaves and branches. They really love to feast on acacia sprouts. And since rhinoceroses pull out acacia by the roots, they thereby exterminate a large number of these plants.
It's hard for a rhino to get enough. For example, white rhinos graze from evening until dawn. Before sunrise, they quench their thirst in their favorite watering hole. Sometimes rhinos have to travel long distances to find food within the sovereign territory used by these animals. On it, rhinos make trails. There are also mud baths in this area, which rhinos are especially fond of on hot days.
Rhinos have poor memory. This is due to their myopia. It is because of her that these animals are literally tied to a certain territory. Therefore, it is difficult for them to settle on their own, even if there are a lot of individuals in the area of their habitat.
Rhinos have excellent hearing. They are able to pick up even the slightest rustle: the sockets of the ears instantly turn towards the sound source.
Spring is the time for marriage between rhinos. Males of rhinos even arrange fights - so they fight for a female ready to mate. The cub is carried by the female for a whole year and a half! Compared to the mass of an adult rhinoceros, cubs are born very small. Indian rhinos, for example, weigh only 60 kilograms. The next day after birth, the little rhinoceros can already follow its mother, two weeks later - graze on its own. But for another year, its main food base will be mother's milk. With the mother, the cub lives for about two and a half years. If suddenly another cub appears during these years, then the older one is expelled, if not forever, then for a while.
Rhinos don't live together. Only the female with the calf can keep close to each other. There is no long-term attachment between male and female.
Rhinos have friends. First, there are buffalo birds. The size of these birds, which are very widespread in Africa, is comparable to the size of a starling. They destroy blood-sucking insects that have dug into the skin of rhinos. Buffalo birds not only relentlessly follow the rhinos, but also warn the breadwinners of impending danger. The second helpers are the water turtles that live in the local mud baths. Feeding on the aforementioned insects, they make life much easier for rhinos. Moreover, these turtles are not afraid of such a huge rhinoceros - as soon as it sinks into the bath, they immediately get down to business!
Rhinos sleep very soundly. At the same time, they forget about the possible danger. If you wish, you can easily sneak up on a sleeping rhino and, of course, go unnoticed. Rhinos sleep often during the daytime, and vigorous activity, respectively, in the evening and night.
Different types of rhinos have different personalities. For example, black rhinos are quick-tempered. In general, rhinos are fearful animals, they avoid proximity to humans. If such a rhino accidentally stumbles upon something and considers it something dangerous, it will immediately rush to meet it. True, myopia does not allow them to make attacks clearly on the target. But the sharp horn of these animals can easily lead to injury. And it is impossible to stop rhinos - with such a weight, they can accelerate to forty-five kilometers per hour! White rhinos are more peaceful in nature. And if at a young age you take them to the zoo, then they generally become tame, they love very much when they are caressed.