Black Rhinoceros

Black Rhinoceros



COMMON NAME: black rhinoceros
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Perissodactyla
FAMILY: Rhinocerotidae
GENUS SPECIES: Diceros (two horns) bicornis (two horn)


DESCRIPTION: Large stocky animal, naturally gray in color but will often take on the color of the local soil; two facial horns and a prehensile lip
SIZE: 1.5-1.9 m (5-6 ft.) tall at shoulder; 3.1- 3.7 m long (10-12 ft.)
WEIGHT: 454-1362 kg (1,000-3,000 lb.)
FEMALE Females are smaller
DIET: Herbivore that browses on bushes, leaves, and seedlings
GESTATION: 15 months
MALE 7-9 years
FEMALE 4-6 years
LIFE SPAN: 25-40 years
RANGE: Isolated areas of central and southern Africa
HABITAT: Bushy plains, rugged hills, and scrub lands
POPULATION: GLOBAL Less than 2,550
CITES No data
USFWS Endangered


1. A rhino's horn is not a true horn that is attached to the skull. It grows from the skin and is made up of keratin fibers, the same material found in hair and nails.
2. Black rhinos have a prehensile lip that is used much like a finger to select and pick the leaves and twigs they prefer.
3. Black rhinos travel alone except while breeding or raising offspring. Juveniles remain with the mother until they are completely weaned just before a new baby is born.


Rhinos are heavy browsers that hinder woody plants from dominating their habitat. This is important because it allows grasses to grow which provide food for many other animals on the grassy plains. Young rhinos are occasionally prey items for large carnivores such as lions and hyenas. People of some cultures believe that rhino horn contains medicinal properties. This is most likely not true but is one of the primary reasons rhinos are poached. There are fewer than 2,550 black rhinos alive today.


Estes, Richard D. The Safari Companion. Post Mills, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Co., 1993.

Martin, Esmond and Chryssee Bradley. Run Rhino Run. London: Chatto and Windus, 1982.

Schenkel R. and L. Schenkel-Halliger. Mammalia depicta: Ecology and Behavior of the Black Rhinoceros. Berlin: Verlag, Paul, and Parey, 1969.