Facts about Rhinos

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1. The Term Rhinoceros combines two Greek Words

Rhinoceros name combines the Greek word ‘rhino’ meaning nose and ‘ceros’ meaning horn. There are 5 rhino species alive today namely black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan. Several other animals have the word rhinoceros in sections of their names. These are rhinoceros auklet, rhinoceros rat snake, rhinoceros viper, rhino shrimp, rhinoceros cockroach, rhinoceros chameleon, rhinoceros hornbill and rhinoceros fish. All these animals have horn-like additions on their noses.

 2. Rhinos are also called Pachyderms

The term pachyderm is derived from the Greek words ‘pachys’ meaning thick and ‘derma’ meaning skin. Years ago, thick skinned animals were grouped together by zoologists and referred to as pachyderms. This grouping included rhinos, horses, tapirs, hippos, elephants, pigs, hyraxes and peccaries.

 3. Rhino as a Nickname

Several people have been nicknamed rhino. These include American actor and professional wrestlero called Rhy, Terry Gerin, Larry Reinhardt the guitarist of the Iron Butterfly band was called El Rhino and British show Gladiators’ Mark Smith.  Indonesian and South African national rugby teams are also called the Rhinos.

4. Rhino Horns have no Bone

Rhino horns are made of keratin and not bone. Keratin is the material that is found in fingernails and hair. The horn is not connected to the skull but it is a compact mass of hair that grows throughout the life of a rhino. The longest rhino horn measured about 5 feet and was from a white rhino.

 5. Fossil of the Extinct Wholly Rhino

A statue thought to have belonged to a legendary dragon with bat-like wings and a body like a crocodile’s was erected in Klagenfurt city in southern Austria in the year 1500, thirty years after the large skull was unearthed nearby. Centuries later, scientists learnt that the skull belonged to an extinct wooly rhino from the last Ice Age.

 6. Rhino’s Closest Relatives

The closes living relatives of the rhino are horses, tapirs and zebras. These are referred to as the odd-toes ungulates or perissodactyls. Rhinos feature three toes on each of their foot and their tracks are similar to those of Ace of Clubs. Even-toed ungulates are known as artiodactyls. They include deer, cattle, antelopes, sheep, goats, pigs, Ilamas and camels.

 7. Indian Rhinos defend themselves with Teeth not Horns

When defending itself against another rhino or a predator, the Indian rhino gouges and slashes viciously using its sharp, long canine and incisors teeth on the lower jaw. Only Sumatran and Indian rhinos have incisors teeth, the white and black rhinos do not have those. However, all the five rhino species have three molars and three premolars on both sides of the lower and upper jaws.

 8. Rhinos dungs Smell Different

Rhinos have to consume huge quantities of plant material in order to get proper nutrition. Each rhino’s poo has a unique smell that identified the owner and young rhino dungs smell different from adult rhinos’ dung. Male rhino dungs also smell differently from that of females. An adult white rhinos can poo 50 pounds of dung each day.

 9. Rhino’s Gestation Period

Rhinos have a gestation period of 15 to 16 months. Only the elephants have a longer gestation period than the rhino, they carry their fetus for almost 2 years. Animals with shortest gestation period include Virginia opossum or yapok that is 12 or 13 days.

 10. Black and White Rhinos are neither White or Black

White rhino’s name is derived from an Afrikaans term ‘wyd’ meaning wide. This describes the white rhino’s mouth and early South African settlers interpreted ‘wyd’ as white. Black rhinos got their name as a result of the wet dark mud in their wallows that caused them to look black. Both black and white rhinos have a grey color.

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