Habitat: Long and short grass savannas
Size: 4000- 6000 lbs, 5-6 feet tall at shoulder, 12.5- 15 feet long
Gestation: Approximately 16 month’s
Diet (wild): Long and short savanna grasses
Diet (zoo): Bermuda hay, ADF-16 pellets & Senior Equine Pellets// Alfalfa Hay for training.
Longevity: Approximately 50 years
Endangered Status: Near threatened: 20, 000 left in the wild ( IUCN redlist 2010)
Threats in the wild: Humans- poaching in South Africa has already claimed 381 rhinos since January 1, 2012. That is more than 1 rhino a day. Rhino horn is made up of keratin, the same substance as our hair and fingernails. Science has not found any medicinal value in keratin even though some people believe in the medicinal power of the rhino horn.
Anatomy/Physiology: Two horns made of keratin (hair and fingernail material) on their face which grows from the skin and not from bone, like other ungulates. They have wide square lips, a highly developed sense of smell, great hearing and thick sensitive skin. They also have three toes on each foot, along with the shape of their skull and their teeth, which tells us they are in the same taxonomic order as Tapirs and horses.
How big do families grow?: A group of rhinos is called a crash, and they are composed of a small group of females and their young, males are normally solitary. White rhinos are the only species of rhino that live in herds, while the other four species live in pairs or are solitary.
How do they communicate between one another?: Rhinos communicate with infrasonic vocalizations (below the human range of hearing) and body language.
Do they have any special skills?: White Rhinos have excellent hearing and smell, wide square lips for grazing.
What is their daily schedule?: Wild rhinos are active drinking and grazing day and night, they are usually sleeping or resting during the hottest part of the day. They also wallow to cool off and protect their skin from the sun and bug bites.
Our white rhino female, “Half Ear”, goes into the barn for her breakfast of pellets and while she is eating, the keepers clean her exhibit. After she is done with her pellets and her yard is cleaned, she is trained in a chute and released onto the exhibit to eat her Bermuda hay, she then goes and takes a late morning nap. She awakes in early afternoon to graze on the grass, use her “oiler” which allows her to apply mineral oil to her skin to help keep it from drying out. She will then take another nap usually in her wallow, wakes up in the early evening for dinner, which is more Bermuda hay. In the evening, she goes to her barn and tends to go inside to bed after sun down. Half Ear is a 41-year-old female rhino. She is retired from any breeding programs, due to her age, and is living out the rest of her life at the Phoenix Zoo.
Any interesting facts about our Rhinos at the Phoenix Zoo?: Half Ear loves to be outside in the light rain. She loves having her back scratched with her favorite brush and will arch her back into the scratch. In the late afternoon, she likes to play a game by standing in front of the Speke’s Gazelle door and preventing the gazelle from going in his barn; while this can be time-consuming for the keepers trying to get the gazelle in his night house, Half Ear enjoys the game.