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Sumatran rhino
I-Sumatran rhino
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Sumatran rhino

In 1986 it was claimed that about 800 Sumatran rhinos would live in the wild, now 33 years later the population is estimated at around 100 animals, however experts say that this is optimistic and that it could even be that only 30 animals survive in the wild.

Practical information Sumatran rhino.

  • Shape: The Sumatran rhino is the smallest rhino of the five species.
  • Weight: Sumatran rhinos weigh between 500 - 960 kg with a length of approximately 2.50 m and a height of 1.20 - 1.45 m.
  • Birth weight: between 40 kg – 50 kg.
  • Hair & skin: This is the rhino species with the most hair, the hair spreads over the entire body but is longer on the ears and thicker on the tail. The coat can vary from a short bushy coat to a rough coat. This difference lies in the abrasion by vegetation. In the wild the coat will therefore often be shorter while in captivity it is less subject to abrasion and therefore longer.
  • Distinctive features: Apart from its small size and hairy body, the Sumatran rhino has unique skin folds. The skin is fairly thin 10 - 16 mm and is soft and flexible. There are two noticeable folds, behind the front legs and in front of the hind legs, and small folds in the neck. They have a gripping upper lip just like the other two Asian species. This helps them to reach for their food. Sumatran rhinos can run fast and are nimble, they climb mountains easily and can walk on steep slopes and river banks. The head of the Sumatran rhino stands out through the edges of the hard skin and the cartilage on the nose and head, making the nose look wider than all other species. This makes them able to break through dense vegetation. The Sumatran rhino has two horns. The Sumatran rhino has a good sense of smell and hearing, the view is limited. When they are found in the forest they usually run away, attacks will mainly be caused by the poor visibility of the animal.

Behavior & reproduction.

  • Social: The Sumatran rhino lives solitary, only a female with calf lives together or couples are seen in oestrus time.
  • Sexual maturity: The bull (the men) reach sexual maturity around 7 years old, the females around 4 years old.
  • Fragrance marking: The common manure heaps are not common in the Javan rhino due to the low population density. The Javan rhino sometimes drags a hind leg a few meters through the manure to create a trace with odor marking.
  • Male territory: Males have large territories that can reach up to 50 km2. The territories overlap with other males, however, there are no indications that these areas are actually defended with fighting. The main paths of the territory are marked with urine, manure, scratches and twisted young trees.
  • Female territory: Females have smaller areas around 10 - 15 km2, and appear fairly spacious but sometimes overlap with male territories.
  • Reproduction: Through the smell from urine, a cow conceals when it is fertile.
  • Gestation and birth: Sumatran rhinos wear for around 15 - 16 months. Sumatran rhinos will have a calf every 4-5 years. A calf weighs 40 - 50 kg at birth. The calf drinks with the mother up to the age of 13 - 15 months. With this it grows sun 1 - 2 kg per day. At a young age the calf learns which plants are good to eat by nibbling on the food hanging on the mother's mouth. When the calves are young they stay close to the mother. Calves sometimes fall prey to tigers or wild dogs.
  • Sounds and calls: The Sumatran rhino communicates with many different sounds, usually consisting of whistling or whining sounds.
  • Activities: An important daily activity for the Sumatran rhino is visiting small hot springs where a kind of mud volcanoes occur that serve as a lick stone. Normally the Sumatran rhino visits these licks once every two to three months, but more often when the rhino has a calf. The Sumatran rhino has a favorite lick stone, the lick stones ensure the extraction of vital minerals for the rhino. But other animals also visit these mineral places such as tigers, elephants and orangutans to get the important minerals. Wildlife trails lead from many directions to these mineral springs, these trails attract poachers who lay traps around these trails. Like the other rhino species, the Sumatran rhinos spend a large part of the day rolling in the mud. Good mud pools are scarce in the mountainous areas, some pools are used for a very long time and eventually holes are dug into the slope. Rolling in the mud is essential for good skin condition to keep parasites off, to cool and as a kind of natural sunscreen.

Interesting facts.

  • Behaviour: Sumatran rhinos have a number of paths used to travel between seasonal feeding areas & mineral springs. The paths are kept open by regular passage of larger animals (rhinos and elephants).
  • Speed: The rhino can reach the speed of 50 km / h in the event of danger.
  • Age: The Sumatran rhino can become around 35 to 40 years old.
  • Food: The Sumatran rhino eats a wide range of tropical plants in the forest. The young shoots, tops of plants that grow on the forest floor, serve as a food source. They also pull climbing plants from trees and look for fruit that has fallen from the trees. The Sumatran rhinos eat around 10% of their body weight per day, this is around 50 - 60 kg. Like all other Asian rhinos, the Sumatran rhino also has long dagger-shaped incisors that can be used in combat and can cause serious wounds. These teeth are missing in the African rhino species. The Sumatran rhino has two rows of strong broad molars on each side. The teeth have a strong layer of enamel, this is used to cut woody parts. Teeth wear out over the years and older animals can struggle to get enough nutrients and eventually die from malnutrition. The Sumatran rhino has a special digestive system, in the last part of the intestine the food is broken down.
  • The horn The horn of the Sumatran rhino is not used for fighting. They use their horn to pull food plants down, scrape in the mud and help protect the head and nose in breaking through dense forest vegetation. The horn is made of keratin, the same material as human's fingernail. The Sumatran rhinos have two horns that are dark gray to black in color. They form a slender cone that is bent slightly backwards, in the wild the horns are usually very smooth. The larger front horn is about 15 - 25 cm long, the smaller rear horn is rarely more than a few cm long.


  • Extinction: Habitat loss and a small population of Sumatran rhinos are the biggest threats to the Sumatran rhino.
  • Locatie: The Sumatran rhino is limited to a few locations in sumatra and borneo. The Sumatran rhino lives in dense tropical forest with both highlands and lowlands. They are attracted to areas with abundant food sources.