Zwarte neushoorn
Black rhino
Ubhejane obumnyama

Black rhino

The black rhino also called point lip rhino. Scientific name: Diceros bicornis, which means 2 horns. The black rhino is divided into four types.

  • Southern central black rhino: Diceros bicornis minor.
  • Eastern black rhino: Diceros bicornis michaeli.
  • Southwestern black rhino: Diceros bicornis bicornis.
  • Western black rhino: Diceros bicornis longipes (declared extinct in 2011).
The status of the black rhino in criticism, they are threatened with extinction by the poaching. Black rhino was once the most common rhino.

Practical information black rhino.

  • Shape: The black rhino is between 1.40 and 1.70m shoulder height. This makes it the smallest rhino of the two African species.
  • Weight: Adult men weigh around 1350 kg, adult females weigh around 900 kg.
  • Birth weight: between 35 kg - 45 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 appearance of the rhino is formed by the folds in the skin, this gives the rhino the appearance of an armor. Unlike the name suggests, the black rhino is gray in color, just like the white rhino. Depending on the type of mud in which the rhino has rolled, the color of the skin may vary. 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 tail of the black rhino is about 60 cm.
  • Distinguishing features: The black rhino has a large head, with small eyes and oval ears. Just like the white rhino, the ears contain tufts of hair. The black rhino has a pointed lip with which it can pick twigs. The horns of the rhino are made of keratin, which are also made of nails. The keratin wires are densely compressed, which makes the horn very strong. The black rhino has 2 horns, just like the white rhino. The front horn is the largest (60 cm on average). Rhinos from different areas can have horns that vary in shape & size. The rhino gets its horns from the 10th month of life. Female rhinos have on average larger and thinner horns where men often have thicker horns. The black rhino is smaller than the white rhino. Where the white rhino has a kind of bump at its neck (compared to a lot of muscle tissue to be able to graze off the ground) the black rhino has this bump to a lesser extent. The black rhino eats from higher shrubs or trees, so they need less muscle power around their necks. The most striking difference between the black and the white rhino is the lip, where the white rhino has a broad grass slip, the black rhino has a sort of hook adapted to grabbing branches and shrubs.

Behavior & reproduction.

  • Social: The black rhino is semi-social & territorial, depending on the area in which they live. If black rhinos are seen together, this usually concerns a female with her young. When searching for a territory, black rhinos will look for a place with a supply of shrubs, powder and plant life. A nearby water source and mineral licks are also important for a black rhino. The black rhino often uses the same paths to reach a water source.
  • Sexual maturity: The bull (the men) reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years old, but they will only be strong enough after the 10th year of life to mate. The females reach sexual maturity between 3.5 and 4 years old.
  • Fragrance marking: Because black rhinos usually live lonely and have poor eyesight, fragrance marking is a crucial communication method. The rhino uses different methods of odor marking. The black rhino can mark an area by rubbing its head against a rock or tree, leaving a characteristic odor through the scent on their skin. Spraying urine in a common form of odor marking, both for female to indicate when she is oestrus and for men who want to make their territory known. Just as with the white rhino, manure stacks are also used as odor marking.
  • Male territory: The territory of a bull is between 3.9 and 4.7 km2. Adult black rhino bulls are often alone, they only stay with a female around mating. The young and older bulls are subject to the territorial bull. Weakened animals are regularly killed or injured by actions of a territorial bull.
  • Female territory: The living area of the female varies between 5.8 - 7 km2. The female tends to live solitary and is usually only found with her last calf.
  • Reproduction: The reproduction of the black rhinos is very similar to that of the white rhino. Through the smell from urine, a cow conceals when it is fertile. The territorial bull will then join the female for about 30 days. When the female has accepted the bull, it will start mating that lasts an average of half an hour.
  • Gestational age and birth: On average, a black rhino will get the first calf around the age of 4. The gestation period of the black rhino is 15 - 17 months. Just like the white rhino, the black rhino looks for a lonely sheltered place to calve just before birth. The calves are within 10 minutes but are not yet stable. The first 2 months they drink with their mother, within a month he eats solid food for the first time, he drinks water for the first time after 4 - 5 months after his birth. Sometimes black rhino calves stay with their mothers for up to a year. Black rhino calves stay with their mother for 2-4 years until a new calf is born. After a new calf is between 6 - 8 months old, a female can allow a previous calf to come back to her, but these calves usually have their own territory at that time.
  • Sounds and shouts: Grunting, growling and sniffing are the most common sounds in the black rhino. They often make these sounds when they are disturbed.
  • Activities: Black rhinos can be active during the day and at night. During hot days the rhinos are the least active between 10:00 - 15:00. They often look for shade under trees or can be found in mud pools.

Interesting facts.

  • Male / female ratio: More male calves are born than female calves, but the mortality among bulls is higher than that of female.
  • Speed: Despite its size, the black rhino is a fast and flexible animal. It can run up to 55 km / h where it is able to change direction very quickly.
  • Age: The black rhino reaches an average age of 35, while in captivity they reach the age of 45.
  • Food: Black rhinos are scouts, they eat shrubs and trees differently than the white rhino that is a grazer. When biting woody plant parts, they often leave a sharp corner at the end of the branch. Unlike with elephants that actually shred the end of a branch. The black rhino drinks once a day if possible, if the food contains a lot of moisture, the black rhino can drink for up to 5 days. The black rhino is often located in a radius of 5 km around a drinking place. He can dig into the earth with his front legs in search of water.
  • Senses: Just like the white rhino, the black rhino also has poor vision, they cannot detect an observation more than 30 meters away. The sense of smell and hearing is excellent.
  • Footprint: All rhino species have a foot with three toes. The front feet of a rhino are larger than the rear feet


  • Extinction: During the 19th century, black rhino became the most numerous rhino. Around 1970 there were around 65,000 animals. However, the horn became a precious commodity used in Chinese medicine and as a decoration in daggers / knives. At the end of the 70s, around 8000 rhinos were killed in 8 years. Between 1970 and 1992, the black rhino population decreased by 96%, with a total of 2,400 animals. Poaching remains the biggest threat to the black rhino at the moment.
  • Location: The black rhino occurs in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.