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Black Rhinoceros

Black Rhinoceros

Scientific classification
Binomial name
Diceros bicornis

The Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is a mammal of the Perissodactyla order which lives in the eastern areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The black rhinoceros is on the endangered species list primarily due to excessive hunting for their horns, which are used primarily in Asian medications although the health benefits have not been proven scientifically.

An adult black rhinoceros stands 5 feet (1.5 metres) high at the shoulder and is anywhere from 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.65 metres) in length. An adult weighs from 1,000 to 3,000 lbs. (454 to 1362 kg), with the female being smaller. Two horns on the skull are made of keratin with the larger front horn as high as 28 inches (71 cm). Occasionally, a third smaller horn may develop. Skin color depends more on local soil conditions and their wallowing behaviour than anything else, so many black rhinos are typically not truly black in color.

The adults are solitary in nature but come together for mating, with the females accompanying their young during the rearing period. Sometimes, mothers and daughters may form small groups.

Table of contents
1 Subspecies
2 Adaptation
3 Diet and Mating
4 Population
5 References


There are four subspecies of the black rhinoceros:


The black rhinoceros has adapted to its habitat using the following characteristics:

Diet and Mating

The black rhinoceros is a herbivorous browser that eats leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes and fruit. Their diet helps to reduce the amount of woody plants which results in more grasses growing for the benefit of other animals. Their skin harbors many external parasites, which are eaten by tickbirds and egrets that live with the rhino.

The females mature between four and six years of age while the males take a little longer, between seven and nine years. Mating does not have a seasonal pattern but live births tend to be towards the end of the rainy season in drier environments. A new born (calf) averages 85 pounds (38 kg) after a 15-16 month gestation period, and can follow its mother around after just three days. The young are a favorite target of hyenas and lions. Generally, females produce calves every two to three years. The lifespan for black rhinos is between 25 to 40 years but they can live up to 50 years in captivity.


The population of black rhinos have been severely reduced in the latter half of the 20th century. In the late 1960s, an estimated 70,000 strong lived in Africa. By 1991, only 10,000 to 15,000 remained in the wild and by 1993 only 2,475 black rhinos were reported to exist. According to the IUCN/SSC African Rhino Specialist Group, the population had recovered slightly to 2,599 by 1999. As few as five individuals of the West African subspecies may remain.