Home > Mammals > Hoofed Mammals
Black Rhinoceros

Black Rhinoceros

Black Rhinoceros Range Map (East & Southern Africa)
Black Rhinoceros Range Map
(East & Southern Africa)

Latin Name Diceros bicornis
Conservation Status Critically Endangered
Location East & Southern Africa
Colour Grey
Length 2.9 - 3.1 m (9.5 - 10 ft)
Tail 60 cm (23.5 inches)
Weight 0.9 - 1.3 tonnes (1 - 1.25 tons)
Life Expectancy 35 - 50 Yrs

Main Characteristics

The Black Rhinoceros is a large land living animal. They have a body length between 2.9 and 3.1 m (9.5 - 10 ft), a tail length of 60 cms (23.5 inches) and they weigh between 0.9 and 1.3 tonnes (1 - 1.25 tons). They have a large, solid body with a large head and short, stocky legs.

Black Rhinos are coloured grey and they only have hair on their ear fringes and tail bristles. They have a distinctive pointed, prehensile upper lip that curls around vegetation and pulls it into their mouth.

They have two large horns on their snout. They are made from keratin fibres, which is the same substance that hair is made from. The front (anterior) horn is larger and it measures between 50 and 130 cms (19 - 51 inches). The rear (posterior) horn is smaller and can measure up to 55 cms (22 inches).

Black Rhinos have bad eyesight, good hearing, and a very good sense of smell. They are known to be very aggressive and will charge if they sense a threat.

They enjoy mud baths and during times of peak heat they can be found wallowing in mud. The mud cools them down and also helps to get rid of parasites.


The Black Rhinoceros is found on grasslands, and wooded savannahs of east and southern Africa.

Black Rhinos tend to be solitary but they sometimes form loose groups and their home ranges often overlap with others. They mark their home range with dung and urine.

The size of a home range will vary according to the season and the available resources but they can be between 2.6 and 130 Kms (1.6 - 80 miles).


The Black Rhinoceros is a herbivore and they feed on leafy plants, shoots, leaves, twigs and fruit. They need to drink regularly but they can go for up to 5 days without water during a drought.


After a gestation period of 15 - 16 months, the Black Rhinoceros will give birth to one calf. At birth the calf will weigh between 35 and 50 Kgs (77 - 110 lbs) and it is able to follow its mother around after a few days.

The calf will start to eat solid food after a few weeks but it will not be weaned until it is 2 years old.

The Black Rhinoceros has a birthing interval of 2 - 3 years and the mother will chase away the older calf before a new one is born.

Females reach sexual maturity at 5 - 7 years of age and males at 7 - 10 years of age.


Humans are the only predators to the Black Rhinoceros.


There are four subspecies of Black Rhinoceros:

South Central Black Rhinoceros
(Diceros bicornis minor)
They are the most numerous and once ranged from central Tanzania south through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to northern and eastern South Africa.

South Western Black Rhinoceros
(Diceros bicornis bicornis)
They are better adapted to the arid and semi-arid savannas of Namibia, southern Angola, western Botswana and western South Africa.

East African Black Rhinoceros
(Diceros bicornis michaeli)
They had a historic distribution from south Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia down through Kenya into north-central Tanzania. Today, its range is limited primarily to Tanzania.

West African Black Rhinoceros
(Diceros bicornis longipes)
This is the rarest and most endangered subspecies. Historically, it once occurred across most of the west African savanna. Until recently, only a few individuals survived in northern Cameroon, but on July 8, 2006 the World Conservation Union declared the subspecies to be tentatively extinct.

Interesting Facts

The Black Rhinoceros is also known as:
Black Rhino
Hooked Lip Rhinoceros
Hooked Lip Rhino

Black Rhinos can reach galloping speeds up to 58 km/hr (36 mph) for a short distance.

Similar Animals

White Rhinoceros
Indian Rhinoceros
Sumatran Rhinoceros
Javan Rhinoceros


Contact         About         Glossary         Site Map         Privacy Policy

CC 2006 - 2014 theanimalfiles.com