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Eastern Black Rhinoceros Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Diceros bicornis michaeli
  • Class

    Mammals
  • Order

    Perissodactyla
  • Range

    Eastern Africa

  • Habitat

    Eastern black rhinos inhabit transitional zones between grasslands and forests, generally in thick thorn bush or acacia scrub. However, they may also be found in more open country.

  • Niche

    As a herbivorous browser, the black rhino eats leafy plants as well as branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes and fruit. Rhino skin harbors many external parasites, which are eaten by tickbirds and egrets that live with the rhino. Young are preyed upon by hyenas. These solitary animals are more nocturnal than diurnal. Females are not territorial; their ranges vary according to food supply. Males are more aggressive in defending turf, but will tolerate properly submissive male intruders.

  • Life History

    Mating is non-seasonal, but births peak toward the end of the rainy season in drier habitats. Gestation is 15-16 months, after which single young are born weighing about 85 pounds. These calves are active soon after birth and can follow mother after about three days. Eastern black rhinos mature at five years.

  • Special Adaptations

    • Thick, layered skin protects rhinos from sharp grasses and thorns. Thick, padded soles on their feet absorb shock and cushion legs.
    • A prehensile upper lip helps in foraging and browsing.
    • Large ears can rotate to pick up sounds from many directions.
    • Horns used for defense and possibly display.
    • The eastern black rhino's aggressive disposition discourages predators. They tend to charge first and investigate later.

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