Black rhinoceros

Black rhinoceros

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Black rhinoceros

The black rhinoceros or hook-lipped rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is a species of rhinoceros, native to eastern and southern Africa including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Although the rhinoceros is referred to as black, its colors vary from brown to grey.

The other African rhinoceros is the white rhinoceros. The word “white” in the name “white rhinoceros” is often said to be a misinterpretation of the Afrikaans word wyd (Dutch wijd) meaning wide, referring to its square upper lip, as opposed to the pointed or hooked lip of the black rhinoceros. These species are now sometimes referred to as the square-lipped (for white) or hook-lipped (for black) rhinoceros.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Perissodactyla
  • Family: Rhinocerotidae
  • Genus: Diceros
  • Species: D. bicornis
  • Binomial name: Diceros bicornis

Biology

  • The black rhino lives in Africa, primarily in grasslands, savannahs and tropical bush lands.
  • There are four black rhino sub-species.
  • Black rhinos are browsers. Their prehensile upper lip is adapted for grasping and holding leaves and branches of shrubs and trees.
  • Black rhinos can live to be 30 – 35 years in the wild.
  • Gestation lasts approximately 15 – 16 months, and mothers give birth to one calf every 2.5 – 3 years.
  • Females and sub-adults generally are social, but bulls are typically solitary.
  • Adult female black rhinos have overlapping ranges and are not really as solitary as often portrayed. Males are generally solitary and may be territorial.

Descriptions

Black rhinoceros, (Diceros bicornis), the third largest rhinoceros and one of two African species of rhinoceros. The black rhinoceros typically weighs between 700 and 1,300 kg (1,500 and 2,900 pounds); males are the same size as females. It stands 1.5 metres (5 feet) high at the shoulder and is 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) long.

The black rhinoceros occupies a variety of habitats, including open plains, sparse thorn scrub, savannas, thickets, and dry forests, as well as mountain forests and moorlands at high altitudes. It is a selective browser, and grass plays a minor role in its diet. Where succulent plants, such as euphorbias, are abundant in dry habitats, it can survive without flowing water.

Behavior

Black rhinoceros are generally thought to be solitary, with the only strong bond between a mother and her calf. In addition, males and females have a consort relationship during mating, also subadults and young adults frequently form loose associations with older individuals of either sex. They are not very territorial and often intersect other rhino territories. Home ranges vary depending on season and the availability of food and water.

Generally they have smaller home ranges and larger density in habitats that have plenty of food and water available, and vice versa if resources are not readily available. Sex and age of an individual black rhino influence home range and size, with ranges of females larger than those of males, especially when accompanied by a calf.

In the Serengeti home ranges are around 70 to 100 km2 (27 to 39 sq mi), while in the Ngorongoro it is between 2.6 to 58.0 km2 (1.0 to 22.4 sq mi). Black rhinos have also been observed to have a certain area they tend to visit and rest frequently called “houses” which are usually on a high ground level.

Diet

The black rhinoceros is a herbivorous browser that eats leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, and fruit. The optimum habitat seems to be one consisting of thick scrub and bushland, often with some woodland, which supports the highest densities. Their diet can reduce the amount of woody plants, which may benefit grazers (who focus on leaves and stems of grass), but not competing browsers.

It has been known to eat up to 220 species of plants. They have a significantly restricted diet with a preference for a few key plant species and a tendency to select leafy species in the dry season. The plant species they seem to be most attracted to when not in dry season are the woody plants. There are 18 species of woody plants known to the diet of the black rhinoceros, and 11 species that could possibly be a part of their diet too.

Black rhinoceros images

Black rhinoceros

Black rhinoceros

Black rhinoceros

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