White Rhinoceros

Route 66 Productions/DCI

The white rhinoceros, which is actually gray brown, gets its name from the Afrikaan word weit, meaning "wide."

Ranking second among land mammals in size, it grazes on the short grasses that thrive where it lives.

A solitary beast, it only comes together with other rhinos to mate.

It has huge horns, measuring up to forty-eight inches (122 cm), which it uses to defend its territory, fight off predators such as lions, and dig up soil in search of mineral salts.

Seriously endangered, the white rhino is now protected. Unfortunately, it continues to be poached for its horns, which are used in aphrodisiacs and folk medicine.

Animal Facts:

Name: White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)

Family: Rhinocerotidae (Rhinoceros)

Range: South Africa, Sudan

Habitat: Open grassland, savanna, and aridland

Diet: Grasses

Head and Body Length: 12 to 13 feet (3.7 to 4 m)

Tail Length: 15 to 28 inches (37 to 71 cm)

Shoulder Height: 5 to 6.6 feet (1.5 to 2 m)

Weight: 5,000 to 8,000 pounds (2,300 to 3,600 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating year-round, peaks February to June; gestation 470 to 490 days, one calf born

Description: Slate-gray to yellow-brown in color; elongated head; wide, straight upper lip; long front horn; shorter rear horn; long ears; humped shoulder; short legs; short tail

Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Major Threat: Habitat loss and degradation; hunting and poaching

What Can I Do?: Visit SOS Rhino and The International Rhino Foundation for information on how you can help.