INDIAN RHINOCEROS – Rhinoceros unicornis


Indian rhinoceros facts: This species has skin that is covered in what looks like plates of armor. Indian rhinos also have just one horn. Males can weigh up to 4,600 pounds (2,100 kilograms), while females weigh around 3,500 pounds (1,600 kilograms). Males measure to 150 inches (380 centimeters) in length, females to 135 inches (340 centimeters). Both sexes have the horn, which measures around 18 inches (45 centimeters). The hairless skin is gray and has flat bumps on it.

Geographic range: Indian rhinos are found in Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Indian rhinoceros habitat: The Indian rhino lives on floodplains and swamplands with tall grasses as well as adjoining woodlands on drier ground.

What does indian rhinoceros eat: This species uses its upper lip to grasp grass stems and bushes. The lip folds back when the rhino wants to graze. The tall grasses of the preferred region supply food year-round. During winter, woody vegetation is important. The Indian rhino also eats aquatic plants and green fallen fruits. These rhinos will step on plants and pull down stems so they can bite off the tips of vegetation. In doing so, they disperse seeds, thus guaranteeing a plentiful food supply.

Behavior and reproduction: Solitary like other rhinos, the Indian rhino gathers around and wallows in bathing pools, as well as in feeding areas. Males are aggressive and fights break out when strange rhinos trespass on others’ territory. This species is very vocal. Indian rhinos spend more than half of their time feeding.

After a courtship that includes the male chasing the female, sometimes for more than a mile (1.6 kilometers), the pair begins horn fighting. This can lead to biting, and it is common for them to inflict open wounds during mating. Pregnancy lasts sixteen months at which time the female gives birth in a secluded forest area or dense grassland region. Calves weigh 140 to 150 pounds (65 to 70 kilograms) and nurse until they are two years old. They leave their mothers a week or two before the birth of the next offspring, though females may remain on the maternal home range. Females give birth every three-and-a-half to four years. Indian rhinos can live up to thirty years in the wild with tigers as the only natural predator of the young.

Indian rhinoceroses and people: Tourists ride on elephants’ backs to view Indian rhinos in some sanctuaries. Local people aren’t as fond of the animals, as the rhinos tend to eat crops at night. In some instances, Indian rhinos have killed humans.

Conservation status: Indian rhinos are listed as Endangered by the IUCN due to poaching and competition from cattle and agricultural development.