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Black Rhinoceros

Scientific Name: Diceros bicornis

Habitat: Brush country of sub-Saharan Africa

Food: Leaves, twigs, bamboo shoots, and fruit

Facts: The black rhino is basically solitary, although a female may be accompanied by her single young. Black rhinos use their sensitive, pointed upper lip to remove succulent leaves and shoots from shrubs and bushes. Rhinos have a good sense of smell and hearing, but very poor eyesight.

The black rhino's two horns are actually composed of keratin, the same substance that makes up human fingernails. Thousands of rhinos have been killed by poachers who remove the horns and sell them in Africa and Asia where powdered rhinoceros horn is thought to have medicinal value. There are fewer than 3,000 black rhinos left in Africa.


Indian Rhinoceros

Scientific Name: Rhinoceros unicornis

Habitat: Nepal and northwest India

Food: Grass, twigs, and reeds

Facts: Next to the elephant, the Indian rhino is the largest land animal in Asia--6 feet (2 m) tall at the shoulders and 2 1/2 tons (5,000 pounds) in weight. At birth, an Indian rhinoceros weighs about 90 pounds (40 kg). In spite of their bulk, they are surprisingly nimble and quick. The Indian rhino may charge at 30 miles (48 km) an hour.

The Indian rhinoceros population in the wild is endangered due to hunting and increasing human population. The rhinoceros has been hunted to the alleged symbolic and medical qualities of its horn. Fewer than 2,400 rhinos remain in the wild.

Breeding: A male and female rhinoceros may remain coupled for over an hour for successful breeding. The baby rhinoceros is born after a gestation period of approximately 16 months.