The Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is also called the Hook-Lipped Rhinoceros. It lives in eastern and southern Africa and it is critically endangered.
It is not actually black: it is grey or dark grey. It is hairless, except for hair on the ears and tail tuft.
It has a wide mouth, a broad body, a large head, a short neck, and stumpy legs with three toes on each foot. It has two horn-like keratin growths, one behind the other. The front horn is larger than the second horn. The front horn is about 50-140 centimetres (2 to 4.5 feet) long, which is longer than the horn of White Rhinoceroses. Sometimes, a third, smaller horn may develop.
It can grow to about 1.8 metres (6 feet), which is about half the size of a White Rhinoceros.
It has a pointed and prehensile upper lip, which it uses to grasp leaves and twigs from trees when feeding. Therefore it is a herbivorous browser. The White Rhino is a grazer because it eats grass. The Black Rhino eats from trees, so it prefers habitats with thick scrub and bushland.
The Black Rhinoceros can also be distinguished from the White Rhinoceros by its size, smaller skull, smaller ears, and by the position of its head, which is held higher than the White Rhinoceros. The Black Rhino has a longer horn and is hook lipped (for browsing) instead of square lipped (for grazing).
It is very fast and can reach speeds of 55 kilometres per hour (34 miles per hour) running on their toes.
The female is pregnant for 16 months before giving birth to a live baby, called a calf. Calves take 2-3 days to walk, and will drink their mothers’ milk for about a year, but they will continue to stay close to their mother until another baby is born.
The adult Black Rhino has few natural predators due to its size and large horns. Sometimes crocodiles will attack a young Black Rhino.
The Black Rhino can live to be up to 40–50 years old.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM