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15 Things You Never Knew About Rhinos

In honor of Save the Rhino Day, here are some surprising things you may not know about these majestic and powerful creatures.

Close up of two White Rhino in a private game reserve in South AfricaThe Light Writer 33/Shutterstock

They’re an economic boon

“They bring in large amounts of income from tourism and are vital to the ecosystem,” says Jennifer Fermon, director of impact for, a group that, among other causes, works to end poaching, protect rhino habitats, and raise awareness of the rhino’s plight. Rhinos also help keep the local flora and fauna healthy thanks to their dung, which supports fly, beetle, and fungus species.


Rhinos are surrounded by strife

“Instability and war in regions where the black rhino resides make conservation efforts for that species difficult,” says Fermon. But more and more organizations like Fermon’s are stepping in to protect the habitat.

White Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) wallowing in mud, South AfricaStuart G Porter/Shutterstock

Their skin regimen is impressive

A rhino’s skin is actually quite sensitive. They protect it from the sun by covering themselves in mud and letting it dry, according to Discover Wildlife. Rhinos will also rub their bodies against tree trunks and rocks to remove bugs, such as ticks. Check out these 7 animals that can nearly live forever.

A Black Rhino kicks up dust whilst running away from a rising sun.2630ben/Shutterstock

They’re really fast

They make look heavy and slow, but rhinos can run an incredible 30 to 40 mph, according to The Australian Rhino Project. Black rhinos reach speeds up to 50 mph—or nearly twice as fast as Usain Bolt!

Up close encounter with a black rhino on safari in South Africa.Paulette Janus/Shutterstock

They’re critically endangered

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia, Save the Rhino estimates. Today, the organization says there are 29,000 rhinos in the wild. This is because of poaching and loss of habitat, which has put all rhino species in danger of extinction. Here are 14 more animals you may not have realized are endangered.

A close up photo of an endangered white rhino / rhinoceros face,horn and eye. South AfricaJONATHAN PLEDGER/Shutterstock

The largest species is the white rhino

They grow 12 to 13 feet in length and up to 6 feet high, measured from the ground to shoulder, according to the San Diego Zoo. White rhinos weigh around 5,000 lbs.

A white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) drinking water, South Africa EcoPrint/Shutterstock

White rhinos are not extinct

The Northern white rhino is almost completely gone—only two females remain. However, Northern white rhinos have been extinct in the wild since 2008. White rhinos—or Southern white rhinos—are at the “Near Threatened” status; more than 20,000 still exist in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). But don’t get discouraged: Here are photos of 10 endangered baby animals that are making a comeback.

The smallest rhino species

The San Diego Zoo also reports that the smallest of the five rhino species is the Sumatran rhino, which grows eight to ten feet long, nearly five feet high, and weighs around 1,765 lbs.

Black rhino feeding at sunset with a big hornLance van de Vyver/Shutterstock

Rhinos are vegetarians

It may be hard to believe given their size, but rhinos are not predators and they don’t eat meat. As herbivores, they survive on eating plants—lots and lots of plants.

Rhino sleeping in the savannahRoberto Ricciuti/Shutterstock

They have very stringent schedules

Rhinos spend their days and nights grazing and only sleep during the hottest parts of the day, reports National Geographic. When they aren’t eating, they like a cooling mud soak.

Closeup of rhinoceros with its tickbirdY.F.Wong/Shutterstock

Birds are their best friends

Rhinos tend to be solitary, but they make an exception for oxpeckers, a type of bird. According to, the oxpecker will sit on a rhino’s back and eat the bugs that crawl on the rhino’s skin. The bird will also call out when danger approaches. Check out the most popular travel destinations in Africa.

Black rhino feeding at sunset with a big hornLance van de Vyver/Shutterstock

Black rhinos have two horns

It might look like one, but the black rhino has two horns. The International Rhino Foundation reports that the front horn is larger and can range from 20 to 55 inches long. The rear horn is smaller and measures up to 22 inches long.

White RhinoSteven Gill/Shutterstock

A rhino pregnancy lasts 15 to 16 months

That may be a long pregnancy, but the Rhino Orphanage reports that a newborn rhino will be up and walking within one hour of its birth. Also, a newborn rhino usually starts nursing from its mom within the first five hours after being born and will start grazing at around two months of age.

Herd of rhino fighting in dust at sunrise, South AfricaJMx Images/Shutterstock

A pack of rhinos is called a crash

Most people know that a bunch of birds is a flock, and a group of fish is a school, but few know that a herd of rhinos is called a crash. Which makes sense, if you’ve ever had a crash coming after you.

rhinos in lake nakuru national park, kenyaFOTOGRIN/Shutterstock

Rhinos mark territory with dung

The International Rhino Foundation also reports that an adult rhino can produce as much as 50 pounds of dung per day, a result of their extremely high-fiber diet and the fact that they have to eat so much. Rhinos can tell a lot about each other from their dung, such as age, gender, and diet. It’s indisputable that rhinos look pretty fierce, but here are 15 innocent-looking animals that are fairly dangerous.

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