Rhino Facts

What is a rhino?

A rhinoceros (rhinocerotidae) is a very heavy, grey herbivore mammal, famous for the horn (sometimes two) on the end of its nose.

How many subspecies of rhino are there?

There are five subspecies of rhino across the world, the Sumatran rhino, Javan rhino, black rhino, greater one-horned rhino and the white rhino.

How many rhinos are left in the wild?

  • Javan rhino: 69
  • Sumatran rhino: Less than 80
  • Black rhino: 5,366 – 5,627
  • Greater one-horned rhino: 3,550
  • White rhino: 17,212 – 18,915

Where do rhinos live?

Black and white rhinos are found in Africa whilst the Indian, Sumatran and Javan rhino are found in Asia. They usually live in grasslands, woodlands, swamps and forests.

What do rhinos eat?

Rhinos are herbivores and, depending on the species, they are either grazers or browsers.

What are the threats to rhinos?

The threats to rhinos and their survival are the illegal wildlife trade, habitat encroachment and climate change. These are all major threats to the species and habitats in which they live.

What is the IUCN status of rhinos?

  • Sumatran rhino: Critically endangered
  • Javan rhino: Critically endangered
  • Black rhino: Critically endangered
  • Greater one-horned rhino: Vulnerable
  • White rhino: Near threatened

How long do rhinos live for?

Rhinos typically have a life span of between 30 and 50 years, however this varies across species and habitats.

Are rhinos blind?

Rhinos are known for their poor eyesight but aren’t actually blind. This explains why they sometimes charge without threats or reason.

Is rhino horn valuable?

Rhino horn is extremely valuable in Asia for the belief that is cures disease and is used as a status symbol to prove wealth. It is estimated that rhino horns can fetch between US $20,000- $60,000 per kilo – more than the price of gold or cocaine on the black market.

Which rhino sub-species recently went extinct?

The death of the last male northern white rhino in 2018 was well documented in the media representing the end of the line for the subspecies. This tragic event highlights the vulnerability of rhino populations and how close the other sub-species are coming to extinction.

Which rhinos have two horns?

Both African species and the Sumatran rhino have two horns, while the Indian and Javan rhino have a single horn. 

What is the difference between the black rhino and the white rhino?

Don’t let the name fool you, black and white rhinos are both grey and look very similar. The major difference is the shape of their mouths. Black rhinos have a hooked lip which they use to pick vegetation whilst white rhinos have a flat, wide lip to graze on grasses. Black rhinos are slightly smaller and more compact and tend to be more aggressive.

The two species occur in much of the same range but inhabit very different areas within their overlapping range – white rhinos are found in open grasslands, while black rhinos prefer thickets and dense bush.

What is rhino horn made of?

Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and fingernails. Keratin is also the compound that forms pangolins scales.

What is rhino horn used for?

Rhino horn is used in traditional medicines, as a status symbol and as an aphrodisiac in south-east Asia, particularly in Vietnam. Other devastating uses for rhino horn also include curing hangovers and for terminal illness, none of which have been found to have scientific grounding and proof.

Rhino horn in traditional medicines

For over 2,000 years, rhino horn has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for the belief that it cures fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders. The horn is ground down into a powder and then dissolved in boiling water to be consumed.

Aphrodisiac: There is a more recent and unfounded belief that rhino horn is an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant.

Rhino horns used as status symbol

Rhino horn has become a delicacy amongst Vietnam’s wealthy and fashionable. At social occasions, individuals add rhino horn powder to their drinks to portray status and wealth alongside the belief that is can enhance sexual performance. Whole horns are also gifted to strengthen business relationships and gain favours. Read more about threats to rhinos.

What is a group of rhinos called?

A group of rhinos is known as a herd or a crash. The collective noun for a group of rhinos is: a crash of rhino.

World Rhino Day is celebrated annually on 22 September.

Why not use this as your chance to fundraise to help protect rhinos from extinction?