Rhinoceros, Endangered Species

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Rhinoceros

A rhinoceros is a large, thick-skinned mammal that is distantly related to the horse.  It has one or two horns on the nose and three hoofed toes on each foot.

There are five species of rhinoceros, also called rhino.  Two lives in Africa and three in Southern Asia.  They are all plant-eaters.  The African white rhino, which is actually grey like all the others, lives mainly on scrubland, where it feeds off grass.  Nearly 2m high, up to 4m long and weighing over  2 tonnes,  it is  the biggest of the five.  The Sumatran rhino is the smallest species, weighing only one tone, and unlike the others it is quite hairy.

HORN OR HAIR?

A rhino’s horn is not made of bone or horn.  It is actually made of very coarse hairs which are firmly stuck together.  African black rhinos and white rhinos have two horns and the one furthest forward can be nearly 1.5m long.  The Sumatran rhino also has two horns, but the Indian and the Javan rhinos have only one horn.  A young rhino begins to grow horns when it is four to five weeks old.

ENDANGERED SPECIES

All rhinos are rare mammals.  There are probably only about 50 Javan rhinos left in the world and about 150 Sumatran rhinos.  The animals have been hunted for their horns, which are often ground up and used to make traditional medicines in Asia.  The white rhinos lives in various National Parks in Africa and it is the most numerous, but the other rhinos are in serious danger of becoming extint.

The two-horned black rhino has a hooked upper lip and lives on the African plains.

The two-horned African white rhino has square lips and lives on the scrubland.

The one-horned Indian rhino has large folds of skin and lives in marshy jungles.

The two-horned Sumatran rhino has hairy skin and lives in rainforests.

The one-horned Javan rhino lives in the rainforest but is now nearly extinct.

(Reference: The Grolier Children Encyclopedia)

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