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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Rhinoceros

NAME AND SPECIES 

The word rhinoceros comes from two Greek words meaning nose-horn.

The original word rhinoceros dates back to the late 14th century, however, we have been calling it a rhino only since 1870.

The white rhino is not white. Its name comes from the Afrikaans "wyd" meaning "wide," a reference to its wide, square muzzle adapted for grazing.


The plural is either rhinoceroses or (far rarer) rhinocerotes. It is not rhinoceri which is quite wrong.

A group of rhinos is called a crash.

There are five species of rhino: the black rhino, white rhino, Sumatran rhino, Javan rhino and greater one-horned rhino.

RHINOCEROSES IN HISTORY 

The woolly rhino roamed Europe from prehistoric times until it became extinct 10,000 years ago.

When Marco Polo reached Indonesia he saw a rhinoceros, thought it was a unicorn, and was really disappointed about how ugly it was.

A rhinoceros arrived in Lisbon in late 1515, which was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times. The King of Portugal, Manuel I, sent the animal as a gift for Pope Leo X, but it died in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy in early 1516.

Dürer's Rhinoceros, in a woodcut from 1515

A live rhinoceros was not seen again in Europe until a second specimen arrived from India at the court of Philip II in Spain in around 1579.

Macbeth is the only play by Shakespeare that mentions a rhinoceros. ("What man dare, I dare. Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, the armed rhinoceros, or th' Hyrcan tiger.")

The first rhinoceros to be exhibited in the U.S. was shown at Peale's Museum in New York City on September 13, 1826.

BEHAVIOR

The formidable-looking black rhinoceros, weighing over a ton, is considered the most easily tameable animal in Africa. Once penned, he becomes so gentle he will eat out of his keeper's hand, and will come on call to have his ears rubbed.


Rhinos sometimes communicate by leaving each other piles of poop.

A white rhino can produce 50lb of dung per day.

Oxpeckers eat the ticks off a rhino's hide and also warn of danger.

ANATOMY

Rhinos can grow to over 6 feet tall, more than 11 feet in length and weigh up to 6000 lbs.

Rhinos are actually neither black nor white in color, they are all grey.


Rhinos have three toes on each foot.

A charging rhino can reach speeds of 35 mph, and this is while running on their toes!

Indian and Javan rhinoceroses have one horn, the other three species have two.

Rhino horns, unlike those of other horned mammals, have no bone in their core but are formed entirely of keratin, like hair and fingernails. The composite is similar to a horse's hoof.

CONSERVATION

Man is the rhino's only natural predator.

Memorial to rhinos killed by poachers near St Lucia Estuary, South Africa

The Southern White Rhino population dwindled to around 50 animals in the late 19th century but is now over 11,000.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the Western Black Rhinoceros extinct in 2011.

Sources Isaac Asimov's Book Of Facts, Daily Express

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