Witte neushoorn
White rhino
Ibhino elimhlophe
Wit renoster

White rhino

The white rhino is divided into two species.

  • Southern white rhino: Ceratotherium simum simum , still between 17.200 – 18.900 rhinos left.
  • Northern white rhino: Ceratotherium simum cottoni, only 2 rhinos left.

Practical information white rhino.

  • Shape: The white rhino is approximately between 1.50 m & 1.80 m shoulder height. This makes it the largest rhino of the two African species.
  • Weight: Adult males weigh between 1800 kg - 2500 kg, adult females weigh between 1800 kg - 2000 kg.
  • Birth weight: between 40 kg – 60 kg.
  • Hair & skin: The rhino belongs to the group of thick skins. With thick, firm skin, the rhino prevents it from being injured by spiny bushes and branches. The skin color of both the white and black rhino is gray. The appearance of the rhino is formed by the folds in the skin, this gives the rhino the appearance of an armor. The skin itself is hairless, except for newborn rhinos. All types of rhinos have tassels of hair on their eyelids, ears and end of their tails. The rhino's tail is about 80 cm - 100 cm long.
  • Distinctive features: The white rhino has a long, rectangular head, the ears are large and oval and placed high on its head. The eyes of a white rhino are small, low on the head and sideways. The sight of a rhino is poor, so he mainly relies on his sense of smell and hearing. The horns of the rhino are made of keratin, which are also made of nails. The white rhino has two horns, the front horn is the largest (60 cm on average). The rear horn is smaller and thicker. The largest horn ever measured was 2 m long. The rhino has a sturdy base, its legs each have three toes with a hoof protecting the extreme part of the toe. The rhino's foot helps to evenly balance the body's heavy weight.

Behavior & reproduction.

  • Social: The white rhino is semi-social, territorial and sedentary. Adult bulls generally live solitary, and can only be found with females during reproduction. Stable herds (often called "crashes") of around six animals can be observed. Because of the poaching, it has now become a rare sight to see a herd of rhinos.
  • Sexual maturity: The bull (the men) reach sexual maturity between 10 and 12 years old, the Females between 6 and 7 years old.
  • Fragrance marking: The sharp sense of smell of the rhino is not only used to protect itself. Special scents are used for communication between different rhinos. All rhino species have collective manure heaps that are used by both sexes. The manure heaps serve as communication and marking points, and are located on territory borders. Research has shown that rhinos can recognize each other by the smell of the manure.
  • Male territory: The territory of a bull is relatively small, between 1 and 3 km2. The quality and availability of food and water in a certain area, determined how large the territory is. The black, white and Javanese rhino mark out their territory with urine. Each area is managed by an adult male, often with between 1 and 3 resident bulls who are not yet sexually mature. As long as these bulls behave submissively, they are tolerated by the territorial bull. If a young male tries to seize power, a force measurement will follow. The territorial bull is much more aggressive to foreign bulls than the bulls that live in its territory.
  • Female territory: The living area of ​​the females varies between 6 - 20 km2 and overlaps the territory of different men. The white rhino female is rarely alone, she is usually seen with her newest calf. The young remains with the mother for 3 years, only when the mother gets another calf does he look for another companion. Preferably of the same age and gender.
  • Reproduction: Through the smell from urine, a cow conceals when it is fertile. The territorial bull will then join the female for about 20 days. In the beginning he stays at a reasonable distance from the female, until she comes in full oestrus and allows him to come closer. The mating is remarkably long and takes 20 minutes to an hour.
  • Gestation and birth: Wear white rhinos for around 16 months. The average age at which females give birth is 7 years. The next calf often follows between 3 - 4 years later. Just before delivery, pregnant females will leave their social group and stay apart for a few days. Calves can stand within an hour and try to suckle immediately. The bond between mother and calf is very strong and they become inseparable. The calf is usually in front of the mother and immediately responds to the behavior of the mother. After 2 months the calf starts grazing. Weaning takes place at about a year old, the calf stays with the mother for an average of 3 years. If the two get separated, their sense of smell will bring them back together. Most calves survive because the mother is a ruthless obstacle for predators.
  • Sounds and calls: White rhino have a wide range of vocal sounds. They communicate through these sounds. The sounds range from squeaking (just like the calf) to growling or wailing.
  • Activities: White rhinos alternate feeding and resting during the day and night. In warm weather, the hottest part of the day is used as a moment of rest. Many of the moments of rest are used to roll in the mud until they are completely covered with it. The mud serves as a sunscreen and to stay cool. The moist mud softens the skin of the rhino and prevents cracks. This mud layer stifles parasites and prevents insects from stinging. If no mud is available, sand is used for rolling. Rhinos need water to drink every 2-4 days. Ox sticks are regularly found on the rhino's back, they help the rhino in the fight against biting insects. Daily sanding also includes scouring the skin, with the aim of removing dander, scabs and insects.

Interesting facts.

  • Behaviour:Rhinos often roll in the mud, which serves as a cooling technique, sunscreen & insect repellent. After rolling, the color of the rhino comes over with the mud that has been rolled in.
  • Speed: The rhino can reach the speed of 50 km / h in the event of danger.
  • Age:The white rhino is on average 50 years old.
  • Food:The white rhino mainly feeds with grass species.
  • The horn:The horns serve as a weapon against predators and for dominance & threats in contact with other rhinos. The horn is made of keratin, the horns constantly grow and grow back when they are broken down. The white rhinos have 2 horns, the larger front horn and the smaller thicker rear horn. The horn of the northern white rhino is considerably smaller than that of the southern white rhino. The horn of the northern white rhino is on average 40 cm long, while that of the southern white rhino is on average 60 cm long.


  • Extinction:The southern white rhino is the most common species, with a population approximately between 17,200 - 18,900 individuals. The northern white rhino is seriously threatened with extinction, in the wild the species was declared extinct in 2008 and there are only 2 living specimens left in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.
  • Location:The southern white rhino is mainly found in South Africa, with smaller populations in Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe.