Black Rhino

Black Rhino Diceros bicornis

Type of Animal:

Savanna, woodland, desert, grassland, shrubland, bushveld, forest

East & southern Africa, formerly found from SE Niger & NE Nigeria through N Central Africa through East & southern Africa.

Bulls heavier than cows but cows taller, both sexes have 2 horns w/ longer one in front, horns thicker on bulls & longer/thinner on cows. Gray to brown coloration.

Strictly browsers, eating branches, shoots, leafy plants, thorny wood bushes, buds, herbs, fruit, flowers, herbs, legumes. Some favorites are succulents, euphorbias, & small acacias.

Status in Wild:
Critically Endangered

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & ranches. Some reintroduction programs have been done to areas of former range.

Solitary, though related same-sex animals found in loose groups & bull-cow pairs occur year-round

Additional Info:


Male-Up to 3,000 lbs
Female-Up to 1,985 lbs
Young-400-900 lbs

15-16 months

Male-4.6-5 ft
Female-5-5.4 ft

Body Length:
11-12 ft, same for both sexes

Life Span: 
35-40 years in wild, up to 50 years in captivity

Tail Length:
1.95-2 ft, same for both sexes

Main predators of adults are lions & crocodiles. Hyenas sometimes take sub-adults & juveniles, wild dogs & leopards only take calves.

Highly endangered due to hunting for horns, which are used as aphrodisiac in Asian medicine. Also, horns used to make jambias (Yemeni daggers used as passages to manhood). Big game hunting, habitat loss, civil strife, & hunting for hide/meat also take toll.

Bulls highly territorial, often killing intruders by goring them. In fact, fighting one of most common causes of death among bulls. Bull marks territory w/ dung midden. Cows have also been known to kill each other. In fact, fighting one of the most common causes of death in this species.

Poor eyesight but a great sense of smell.

Calf stays w/ mom for 2-3 years.

Sexually mature at 3-4 years old.

Unlike many horns, rhino horns can grow back very slowly if part of horn broken off.

Fun Fact(s):
Also called “Hook-Lipped Rhino” due to their lips used for browsing.

Known to be very aggressive/dangerous in wild, especially cows w/ calves. Many captive individuals very docile.

Though large, they can run up to 40 mph.

Horn is not true horn attached to skull. Rather, it grows from skin & is made from keratin (same material in hair & nails).

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