Rhino (White) Facts
Together with the greater one-horned rhino, the white rhino is the largest of all rhino species. Its name comes from the Dutch "weit" (wide), in reference to the animal's wide muzzle. It is also known as the square-lipped rhinoceros due to its squared (not pointed) upper lip.
Compared to black rhinos, white rhinos have a longer skull, a less sharply defined forehead and a more pronounced shoulder hump. They have almost no hair and two horns. The front horn averages 60 cm, but occasionally reaches 150 cm in length.
White rhinos appear to require thick bush cover, relatively flat terrain, water for drinking and wallowing, and short grass for grazing. They primarily inhabit grassy savanna and woodlands interspersed with grassy clearings.
The ainmals tend to avoid the heat during the day, when they rest in the shade. They are usually active in the early morning, late afternoon and evening.
During very hot periods, the cool and rid themselves of ectoparasites (external parasites) by bathing in mud in shallow pools. Adult males can spend almost their entire life in these areas, unless water is unavailable, in which case they follow a narrow corridor to a drinking site every 3-4 days.
White rhinos are attributed to have the most complex social structure of all rhino species. Groups of up to 14 rhinos may form, notably females with calves. Adult males occupy territories of 1-3km2, which they mark with vigorously scraped dung piles, while adult females have home ranges of 6-20km2 or even larger, depending on habitat quality and population density.
Just 4 northern white rhinos now remain in the wild, in Garamba National Park in north-eastern DRC. However, there are unconfirmed reports of a few survivors in southern Sudan.
Once found across Southern Africa, the southern white rhino was considered extinct in the late 19th century. Then in 1895 a small population was discovered in the Umfolozi-Hluhluwe region in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
After more than a century of protection, southern white rhinos currently number about 20,140. Classified as Near Threatened, they are the only non-endangered rhinos.
The majority (98.8%) of white rhinos occur in just four countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.