September 22nd is World Rhino Day! Join RhinoFit in celebrating these powerful, majestic creatures with some interesting facts.
Did you know?
Today, only 27,000 rhinos remain in the wild. There are five species of the Rhinoceros. Two are from Africa; the Black Rhino and the White Rhino. Three are from Asia; The Greater One-Horned Rhino, Sumatran Rhino, and Javan Rhino. The black rhino, Javan Rhino, and Sumatran Rhino are considered critically endangered.
Rhinos are the second largest mammal on Earth, next to the elephant, which is also an endangered and intelligent creature. Rhinos are massive prehistoric-looking animals. They are one of the oldest groups of mammals and have been around for millions of years. They help the balance of natural resources with grazing habits which help shape the landscape for all wildlife.
Below are 5 additional fun facts about Rhinos!
1. The Rhino Diet
Despite weighing up to 5,000 lbs, these massive rhinos are on an all-green diet. In fact, these herbivores can eat up to 100 pounds a day of leaves, grass, twigs, and fruit.
2. Don’t Crash the Rhino Party!
Rhinos normally run solo, but occasionally you will find them grouped together in what is referred to as a crash. A dominate male rules over the land but will allow a female and her offspring to roam freely. Occasionally, you will even find another sub-dominate rhino in the mix.
3. Getting Down and Dirty
Often you will find the rhinos cooling off by rolling around in a mud pool. This common behavior is called wallowing and helps the rhinos to cool off and protects their skin from insects and the sun!
4. Built for Speed?
Despite their large size, Rhinos are actually built for speed! They have powerful hind legs to help them reach speeds up to 34 mph! In fact, when they reach their top speed, they will run on their toes. Rest assured, you don’t want to make them angry. If you do, you better get out of their way quickly!
5. The Rhino Bodyguard – The Oxpeckers
When you see a rhino you may also find a bird taking a free ride on their back. This bird is called an oxpecker, and is the rhino’s real life body guard. In fact, the Swahili meaning for the bird is “the rhino’s guard”. They help protect the rhino by picking ticks and other insects from their back.
The Rhino Population
Dating back to approximately 50 million years ago, over 500,000 rhinos once roamed in many places throughout the world. However, with persistent poaching and habitat loss, the population has dropped from 70,000 rhinos in 1970, to as low as 27,000 rhinos in the wild today.
The Rhino Horn
The Rhinoceros gets its name from its trademark horns. The word Rhinoceros is an ancient Greek word for nose horn. Their horns grow continuously during their lifetime and can grow to 59 inches. Keratin is what makes their horns so desirable. Keratin is a protein that we humans also have in our hair and fingernails.
How can we help?
The only real enemy the rhinos have is man. Over the years, poachers have hunted and killed rhinos for their horns to sell on the black market. Since the rhino horn is used for medicine, the horns can sell for more than the price of gold. If we don’t put an end to poaching, Rhinos could become extinct in the near future. The best way to help is by advocating and spreading awareness for the rhino species. There are also Rhino conservationists that you can contribute to help keep the 5 rhino species alive and protected from poachers.