Friday, September 4, 2020

Fun Facts about the Rhinoceros

September 22 is World Rhino Day. World Rhino Day was started in 2010 by the World Wildlife Fund as a way to celebrate the rhinoceros and to teach people around the world about them.  Several species of rhinoceros are critically endangered and need our help.  Read on to learn about these amazing gentle giants and how we can help them.

World Rhino Day by Kelly's Classroom Online

Interesting Facts About Rhinoceros

1. Rhinoceros get their name from the Greek word rhinokerĊs which means 'nose-horned.' This perfect name for them because they can have one or two horns on their noses.  Their horns are made from keratin... the same material found in our hair and fingernails!

Rhinoceros With Two Horns

2. The skin of the rhinoceros looks thick and leathery, but it's actually quite sensitive.  Rhinoceros can get sunburned if they are in the sun for too long.  This is why rhinoceros enjoy rolling in the mud... it covers their skin and protects it from the sun.  It's also cool and soothing to them on a hot day.

Rhino Rolling in the Mud

3.  There are several types of rhinoceros that can be found all over the world.  They are the Greater One-Horned, Black, White, Sumatran, and Javan.  These rhinoceros live in India, Nepal, Vietnam, Malaysia, and parts of southern Africa.  Their habitats vary.  Some live in deserts, grasslands, and savannahs.  Others live in swamps and rainforests.  

Rhinos in Tall Grass

4.  Rhinoceros are herbivores and eat the vegetation found in their habitats.  They like to eat grass, leaves from trees and bushes, and fresh fruits.  Rhinoceros have huge appetites and can eat up to 120 pounds of food a day.

Rhinoceros in the Tropics

5. Rhinoceros don't see very well.  This is why you can sometimes see them charging for no good reason.  Even though they have poor eyesight, rhinoceros have very strong senses of hearing and smell.

Close Up of a Rhino's Eye

6. A group of rhinoceros living together is called a crush.

A Crush of Rhinoceros

7.  Rhinoceros have very few predators.  Sadly, humans are their main predators.  Hunters poach rhinoceros to get their horns.  They incorrectly think the horns have medicinal properties and can cure them of a variety of illnesses.  Because of this, several species of rhinoceros are critically endangered.  That means they are 'in danger' of becoming extinct!

Rhino Without Its Horns

8. The woolly rhinoceros went extinct about 10,000 years ago. These rhinoceros had long, thick hair and a large hump behind its shoulders.  Scientists believe climate change and being hunted by early humans caused them to go extinct.  

Extinct Woolly Rhinoceros

How to Help the Rhinoceros

You may be wondering what you can do with your students to help the rhinoceros.  There are a couple of things you can do.  For example, you and your students can write letters to politicians and petition them to do more to protect the rhinoceros and their habitats.  If the children are too young to write letters, then they can draw pictures to send.  

Another idea is to 'adopt' a rhinoceros.  Several organizations allow you to symbolically adopt a rhinoceros and use the money you donate to support their conservation efforts.  What kind of fun fundraising activities can you think of to help raise money for adopting a rhinoceros for your school?

Mother and Baby Rhinoceros
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