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There are five species of rhinos — two African and three Asian. The African species are the white and black rhinos. Both species have two horns. Asian rhinos include the Indian and the Javan, each with one horn, and the Sumatran, which has two.
The white rhino is the second largest land mammal next to the elephant. The five species range in weight from 750 pounds to 8,000 pounds and stand anywhere from four and a half to six feet tall.
Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis): 2,400
White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum): 7,500
Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis): 400
Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus): fewer than 100
Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): more than 2,000
Biologists estimate that wild rhinos live up to 35 years. In captivity, a rhino may live 40 years.
Rhinos are found in parts of Africa and Asia.
Rhino habitat ranges from savannas to dense forests in tropical and subtropical regions.
Rhinos are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. White rhinos, with their square-shaped lips, are ideally suited to graze on grass. Other rhinos prefer to eat the foliage of trees or bushes.
As solitary creatures, both male and female rhinos establish territories. Males mark and defend their territories. Rhinos use their horns not only in battles for territory or females but also to defend themselves from lions, tigers and hyenas.
Males and females frequently fight during courtship, sometimes leading to serious wounds inflicted by their horns. After mating, the pair go their separate ways. A calf is born 14 to 18 months later. Although they nurse for a year, calves are able to begin eating vegetation one week after birth.
Rhinos rank among the most endangered species on Earth. Valued for their horns, they face a serious threat from poaching. Some cultures believe that the powdered rhino horn will cure everything from fever to food poisoning.
*CITES, Appendix I, Endangered Species Act
*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty with more than 144 member countries. Appendix I listed species cannot be traded commercially. Appendix II listed species can be traded commercially only if trade does not harm their survival.