The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species. The White Rhino consists of two subspecies: the Southern White Rhino, with an estimated 17,460 wild-living animals at the end of 2007 (IUCN 2008), and the much rarer Northern White Rhino. The northern subspecies has very few remaining, all in captivity.
White Rhinoceroses are found in grassland and savannah habitat. Herbivore grazers that eat grass, preferring the shortest grains, the White Rhinoceros is one of the largest pure grazers. It drinks twice a day if water is available, but if conditions are dry it can live four or five days without water. It spends about half of the day eating, one third resting, and the rest of the day doing various other things. White Rhinoceroses, like all species of
White Rhinoceroses produce sounds which include a panting contact call, grunts and snorts during courtship, squeals of distress, and deep bellows or growls when threatened. Threat displays (in males mostly) include wiping its horn on the ground and a head-low posture with ears back, combined with snarl threats and shrieking if attacked. The White Rhinoceros is quick and agile and can run 50 km/h (31 mph).
White Rhinoceroses live in crashes or herds of up to 14 animals (usually mostly female). Sub-adult males will congregate, often in association with an adult female. Most adult bulls are solitary. Dominant bulls mark their territory with excrement and urine. The dung is laid in well defined piles. It may have 20 to 30 of these piles to alert passing rhinoceroses that it is his territory. Another way of marking their territory is wiping their horns on bushes or the ground and scrapes with its feet before urine spraying. They do this around 10 times an hour while patrolling territory. The same ritual as urine marking except without spraying is also commonly used. The territorial male will scrape-mark every 30 m (98 ft) or so around its territory boundary. Subordinate males do not mark territory. The most serious fights break out over mating rights to do with a female. Female territory is overlapped extensively and they do not defend it.
Battle against the HippopotomusEdit
A female hippo is walking over the grasslands on her way back to the watering hole after a long nights feeding. Trailing behind her is her young calf, whining at his mother for food. Meanwhile in the distance a male rhino is lying down in the bushes, napping. He hears the hippo calfs whining and looks up, spotting the female hippo. Due to his poor eyesight he mistakes the hippo for another bull rhino and gets to his feet, shaking the dirt off his body. He puts his head down and charges at the hippo, who is blistfully unaware of the inraged rhino. She hears the pounding of his footsteps and turns to see the massive beast charging right at her and her calf. She nudges her calf out of the way and charges at the rhino.
The rhino realises that it is not charging another rhino and stops in his tracks. The hippo however is undetered and rams into the rhino, knocking it back slightly. It whips its head around and slams its horn into the hippos thigh. The hippo roars in pain and grabs the rhinos shoulder blade in its huge jaw, crushing the shoulder blade and leaving a huge wound in the rhino's side. The rhino grunts at the pain and smashes its head into the hippo untill it releashes the rhinos shoulder. The rhino limps away into the bushes and the mother hippo beckons to her calf to return to her. The small animal peeks its head out of the bushes it was hiding behind and slinks over to it's mother. She rubs head with her youngster and they make thier way back to the wateringhole.
While the White Rhino was bigger and faster it was the powerful jaws of hippo that won it the day.