Zoo Licenced and Garda Vetted
Originally small horse like creatures, they evolved over the last 30 to 50 million years to these huge 1500 kg poor sighted herbivores with an excellent sense of smell. They really look as though they belong in Jurassic park, with their armour like skin 1.5 -5cm thick, huge threatening horns you can only imagine a Brachiosaurs or Triceratops grazing nearby.
In the mid 20th century there were some 70,000 estimated to be roaming Africa but now numbers are just over 2000 due to the demand for their horns as trophies and for its so called medical values (according to the Chinese medicine). Since the rhino horn is made of keratin (same as your fingernails) it has no chemical or nutritional value what so ever nor is it digestible, you might as well eat your own hair. Even so while I was in Africa a rhino was killed by tranquilizer dart overdose which was provided to poachers by a veterinarian surgeon in a nearby park. A kilo of rhino horn is worth over €40,000 on the black market that’s more than its weight in gold.
The black rhino is a browser, with a triangular-shaped upper lip ending in a mobile grasping point. It eats a large variety of vegetation, including leaves, buds and shoots of plants, bushes and trees. The white rhino, on the other hand, is a grazer feeding on grasses.
During relaxation time they seem to love to sink down into a muddy hole which cools their bodies and gives relief from flies and parasites.
The female Rhino gives birth to a calf after a gestation of around 1 year and 6 months. This calf stays with the mother for normally around 2 years till the next bouncing baby Rhino appears. This seems to be text book, what I witnessed seemed to be family groups, normally a bull, a mother and one or two siblings. One family seemed to have a rhino equivalent of a pre teen and female teenager and a Mam and Dad out for a walk.