white rhinos arrival

19 Interesting Facts About Rhinos

Many people don’t know the difference between a hippo and a rhino, let alone that there are five species of rhinos. In this blog, we’ll delve into the distinct characteristics that set apart the five rhino species, shedding light on their unique behaviors and adaptations. We’ll also provide tips for artists looking to portray particular rhino species in their art. 

Plus, discover how a visit to Tanganyika Wildlife Park can bring you face-to-face with two different rhinos. Creating memorable moments that inspire a deep appreciation for wildlife and contribute to the global mission of animal stewardship. Join us on this exploration of rhino wonders – a journey that goes beyond the ordinary, just like the experiences we aim to create at our zoo.

A Look at the 5 Different Types of Rhinos


In the early 1900’s it’s estimated that over 500,000 rhinos roamed in their home territories from Africa to Asia. Today populations are closer to 27,000. That’s a 95% decrease over the last 120 years.  

The biggest threat is still poaching with rhino horn bringing an estimated $65,000 to $100,000/kg. Rhino populations in Africa are the hardest hit by poaching. It seems like a solution should be simple. Stop poaching rhinos. But it’s not that simple.

Poverty, desperation, and global markets play huge factors in the demand for rhino horn. Organizations like Tanganyika Wildlife Park and other aquariums and zoos across the world are working with governments and non-governmental organizations like the International Rhino Fund to connect people with and preserve rhinos. 

You can help by learning more about the 5 different types of rhinos and spreading the word about their plight in the wild. We’ll also share some tips for artists who might want to add rhinos to their art.    

White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum):

  • The White Rhinoceros, with its wide square-shaped mouth adapted for grazing, is the second-largest land mammal. These grazers live in open savannahs and feed mostly on grass. 
  • Contrary to its name white rhinos are not white. “White” is believed to be a mistranslation of the Dutch word “wijde,” meaning “wide,” describing its mouth. These gentle giants are generally social and can be found in grassy savannas.
  • Of the 5 different types of rhinos they are tied with the Greater One-horned Rhino or Indian rhino as the largest weighing between 1,800 and 2,700 pounds
  • Graphic design tip: White rhinos have square lips and two horns. Their heads are typically positioned lower to the ground since they are grazers. 

white rhinos

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis):

  • The Black Rhinoceros is known for its hooked upper lip, which is prehensile and allows it to grasp leaves and twigs from bushes and trees. Despite their name, black rhinos can be gray or brown. 
  • In comparison to the white rhinos who are social, the black are more solitary and can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands and forests.
  • They are critically endangered with less than 7,000 rhinos left in the wild. Of the 5 different types of rhinos they are one of three critically endangered species. 
  • Graphic design tip: Black rhinos have a triangular pointy lip. They have two horns. They are typically standing with their head more straight up. 

black rhinos

Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros/Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis):

  • Native to the Indian subcontinent, the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros is easily identifiable by its single horn and thick, folded skin. Some say this is the origin of the unicorn myth
  • Their horn can reach impressive lengths, and they are well adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle, often found near rivers and swamps. These rhinos are known for their calm demeanor.
  • Graphic design tip: Great One-Horned rhinos have one horn. They also have bigger, broader bodies like the white rhino but more folds and flaps. They almost appear to have plates of armor. 

greater one horned rhinos

Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis):

  • The Sumatran Rhinoceros is the smallest of the different types of rhinos and has distinctive reddish-brown skin covered in coarse hair. They are critically endangered, and their population is scattered across Southeast Asia. 
  • With two smaller horns, this rhino is known for its shy and solitary nature. They have been making headlines after the establishment of the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary where many of the remaining animals were brought to live in one area so it would be easier for them to find mates and breed. 
  • Graphic design tip: Sumatran rhinos have two small and short horns. They are also covered by hair. They have wide eyes with lots of lines around their eyes. 

sumatran rhinos

Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus):

  • The Javan Rhinoceros is one of the rarest large mammals on Earth. With a single horn and loose, segmented skin, they are adapted to the dense tropical forests of Indonesia and Vietnam. Mostly in the Ujung Kulon region
  • Sadly, their population is critically low, with less than 70 animals left making conservation efforts crucial for their survival. From reducing poaching to improving habitats efforts are underway and recent censuses show the population is slowly on the rise. 
  • Graphic design tip: Javan rhinos have one singular horn. They have a pointed, prehensile lip and dark bodies. They also have folded skin that resembles plates of armor. 

javan rhinos

We can’t go without mentioning the Northern White Rhino. While they are considered functionally extinct with only two females left in the population, they are still an existing rhino species. It will be a species we see go extinct within our generation. Many efforts exist to use artificial reproduction to bring this species back from extinction. 

Each rhino species has evolved unique adaptations to thrive in its specific habitat, and learning about these differences enhances our appreciation for these remarkable creatures. At Tanganyika Wildlife Park, we are proud to offer the opportunity to encounter and connect with the White and Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, contributing to our mission of fostering a deeper understanding of wildlife conservation.

Learn more about Tanganyika’s Rhino Conservation efforts here.

19 Fun Facts About Rhinos 

Now that you know about the different types of rhinos, let’s talk about some fun facts about rhinos. Rhinos are some of the more unique megafauna on the planet. 

  • Unicorn or Bicorn? – Contrary to popular belief, the term “rhinoceros” means “nose horn,” not “horned nose.” It’s derived from the Greek words ‘rhino’ (nose) and ‘keras’ (horn).
  • Skin Folds and Wrinkles – Rhinos have thick, folded skin that might appear tough, but it’s surprisingly sensitive. They often wallow in mud to protect their skin from the sun and insects.
  • Horn Composition – A rhino’s horn is not made of bone but of keratin, the same protein found in human hair and nails.
  • Five Species – There are five rhino species: White, Black, Indian, Sumatran, and Javan. Each has unique characteristics and occupies different regions.
  • Rhino Speed – Despite their large size, rhinos are surprisingly fast. They can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
  • Communication through Dung – Rhinos use dung (feces) to communicate with each other. They leave dung piles in specific locations, conveying information about their age, sex, and reproductive status.
  • Rhinoceros Ears – Rhinos have excellent hearing, and their ears can move independently to detect sounds from various directions.
  • Rhino Vocalizations – All rhino species communicate through various vocalizations, including grunts, snorts, honks, and even trumpet-like sounds.
  • Prehistoric Relatives – Rhinoceroses have ancient relatives that date back to the Eocene epoch, over 50 million years ago.
  • Rhino Wallows – Rhino wallowing isn’t just for fun; it serves several purposes, including cooling their bodies, protecting their skin, and warding off parasites.
  • Odd-toed Ungulates – All 5 different types of rhinos are classified as odd-toed ungulates, sharing this classification with horses and tapirs.
  • Impressive Memory – Rhinos are known for their excellent memory. They can remember individuals and locations for years.
  • Motherly Protection – Female rhinos are fiercely protective mothers, often keeping a close eye on their calves for the first few years of their lives.
  • Symbiotic Relationships – Rhinos often have symbiotic relationships with certain birds, like oxpeckers, which help by removing ticks and parasites from their skin.
  • Rhino Eyesight – Despite their relatively poor eyesight, rhinos compensate with their acute sense of smell.
  • Different Horn Shapes – Rhino species have different horn shapes; for example, the White Rhino has a broad, flat mouth adapted for grazing, while the Black Rhino has a hooked upper lip for browsing.
  • Sumatran Rhino’s Hairiness – The Sumatran Rhino is the hairiest of all rhino species, with reddish-brown hair covering its body.
  • Extinct Rhinoceros – The Woolly Rhinoceros, an Ice Age species, became extinct around 10,000 years ago.
  • Conservation Challenges – Rhinos face severe threats, primarily from poaching for their horns, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. Conservation efforts are crucial for their survival.

These fun facts about rhinos showcase the diversity and uniqueness of rhinoceroses, highlighting the importance of conservation to ensure their continued existence in the wild. We’ve also answered the question, “How many types of rhinos are there?” Now let’s talk about what it takes to meet a rhino in real life


Come and See Some Rhinos at Tanganyika Wildlife Park

At Tanganyika Wildlife Park, we’re committed to providing our guests with extraordinary encounters, and our rhino experiences are no exception. Immerse yourself in the world of these magnificent creatures by participating in our unique programs that offer up-close interactions with Indian Rhinos and behind-the-scenes access to White Rhinos.

Indian Rhino Feeding Station:

Step into the captivating realm of the Indian Rhinoceros at our specialized feeding station. Here, you can engage in a truly immersive experience as you observe and interact with these incredible creatures. 

Learn about their unique adaptations, witness their gentle demeanor, and even have the opportunity to feed them under the guidance of our experienced staff. It’s a moment that not only provides a close encounter with these majestic animals but also fosters a deeper connection to the importance of wildlife conservation.

This feeding encounter is included on your feeding wristband admission to Tanganyika. Along with other feeding encounters

rhino feeding encounter

White Rhino Behind-the-Scenes Tour:

For those seeking a more exclusive adventure, our behind-the-scenes tour offers an unparalleled opportunity to meet and greet our white rhinoceros residents. Led by our knowledgeable guides, you’ll explore areas not typically accessible to the public, gaining insights into the daily lives, care routines, and individual personalities of our White Rhinos. 

three people next to a white rhinoceros at Tanganyika Wildlife Park Zoo in Wichita, KS white rhino behind the scenes woman petting a white rhinoceros at Tanganyika Wildlife Park Zoo in Wichita, KS

woman petting a white rhinoceros at Tanganyika Wildlife Park Zoo in Wichita, KSThis personalized encounter allows you to witness firsthand the dedicated efforts undertaken to ensure the well-being of these magnificent creatures. Prepare for an unforgettable journey into the heart of rhino conservation and appreciation.

Whether you choose to participate in the Indian Rhino Feeding Station experience or embark on the White Rhino Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Tanganyika Wildlife Park is dedicated to creating moments that inspire a profound connection with wildlife. Join us on these extraordinary adventures, where education, conservation, and the magic of up-close encounters come together to create memories that last a lifetime.

For more on what Tanganyika does to protect rhinos, read our blog, or to be inspired to care for rhinos yourself visit us in person.

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