Why the rhino is not a bad-tempered animal?

A baby rhino playing with it's mother.

Attacks for defense only


While the rhino’s sense of smell is acute and his hearing is good, he has difficulty in distinguishing a human beyond about twenty-five yards.

And if he catches sight of movement at that range, he will feel too close to danger for comfort and he may charge.

Rather than this rhino being a bad-tempered animal, some naturalists say that it is more likely fear that motivates the attack and that the charge is actually defensive rather than aggressive.

Nevertheless, three thousand pounds of rhino, galvanized into action, charging at twenty-five to thirty-five miles per hour makes a formidable foe.

A locomotive was once derailed by one of these huge rhino.

Usually the rhino is happy to be left alone.

Rhino's habitat


Apart from giving relief from heat, the mud serves another purpose.

A coating of mud will cause the ticks, small blood-eating parasites, to loosen their hold on the rhino’s skin.

The rhino then rubs them off along with the mud, against a stone or tree stump.

The wallow, in turn, becomes deeper and deeper as the rhino uses it, and it eventually becomes a semi-permanent waterhole, providing water in the dry season for many other animals.

The bull rhino seeks to establish a territory of his own, an area of perhaps 500 acres.

He has various ways of marking this territory as his, and he will defend it against challengers.

One way he marks his territory is by finding a small bush; then, holding each back leg stiff in turn, he will drag them over the bush, breaking it down.

After this he urinates in a fine spray so that the whole bush is scented.

Now any visiting rhino that comes upon such a bush will know immediately that he is in someone’s territory.

But how will the bull know who has visited his territory?

It is the practice of the bull to establish middens or heaps of dung.

Any visiting rhino will use the middens and so leave evidence of his presence.

The territorial bull makes his round of the middens, from the scent gaining knowledge as to who has visited his territory; whether they were cows or bulls, neighbors or strangers.

The dung in the midden is scattered by a kicking action of the back legs on the part of the territory owner so that the visitor’s slate is wiped clean before the next round of inspection.

Rhino feeding habits


To get its dinner it often uses its front horn (sometimes as long as three and a half feet) to uproot and overturn bushes and small trees.

When you observe a rhino feeding from the acacia thorn tree. You will notice the way his hooked lip reaches around the twigs to strip them of leaves.

It acts almost like a finger. Certainly his mouth was made ideally for feeding in that manner.

Usually the bird that sits on a rhino’s back is an ox-pecker, and it feeds upon the parasites found on the skin and in the ears of its host.

This alert birds fly's off making a loud noise at the appearance of danger, so sounding a warning to the rhino.

Many, indeed, are the interesting features of these huge horned animals, now declining in numbers.

Surely their lives should mean more than the inflated value of their horns.

What a pity that humans, activated by ignorance, fails to see the true value of this earth and the wonderful creatures upon it.