At the Zoo: Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros
There are five species of rhinoceros in the world and each plays a unique role in their environment and the larger ecosystem as a whole. Here at TLPZ we are fortunate to care for two of these amazing species; the Southern white rhino and the Greater one-horned rhino. Commonly known as an Indian rhino, these gentle giants are a rare endangered species.
Many times when people picture a rhino they imagine the Southern White Rhino which you may have seen in our Africa section. Southern White Rhinos have large low hanging heads, wide lips and of course two horns! The Greater One-horned Rhino is one of just two species of rhino that only has one horn. Here are some more characteristics:
- 2nd largest land mammal on earth and can weigh between 4,000 and 6,000lbs and stand roughly 6ft tall!
- Weight is supported by long legs, wide feet and just 3 toes.
- You might you may have heard of them referred to as pachyderms, just like an elephant. However, they are actually more closely related to tapirs and horses.
- All of these animals have an odd number of toes and belong to the herbivorous group called the “odd-toed ungulates”.
- Large semi-prehensile lip that allows them to browse, or eat leaves, branches and fruit scattered throughout the trees. Prehensile means almost “finger like” and it gives these rhinos the ability to grasp and pull objects towards their mouth.
- When not grazing Indian Rhinos prefer to remain solitary except for during breeding season.
- Small groups of Indian rhinos are called a “crash.”
- Rhinos are grazers and feed mostly on grass. With their wide mouths carried low to the ground, they can look like lawn mowers crossing a field of grass. They enjoy varieties of hay, especially alfalfa.
“Johnny” is our male rhino. He is a laid-back fellow who likes to get back scratches from the animal care staff. “Jamie” is currently the female of the pair. She is headstrong and confident.
Through training and positive reinforcement, our rhinos will voluntarily stand for veterinary procedures, and voluntarily step on a scale to be weighed. They are cooperative and we enjoy getting to know them.
About: Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros
Savannas, forests, river valleys, and marshes.
Native to the Indian subcontinent.
4,000-5,000 pounds. Height at shoulder
: 6 feet.
Rhinos are grazers and feed mostly on grass.
Fun Facts: Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros
- The word “rhinoceros” is a combination of two Greek words – “rhino” meaning nose and “ceros” meaning horn.
- They can run up to 30-34 miles per hour.
- Greater One-Horned Rhinos have thicker skin helps to protect against harsh brush and thorns.
- Rhinoceros horns are not made of bone or ivory but of keratin, the same material found in our hair and fingernails.
- The closest living rhinoceros relatives are horses, zebras, and tapirs.
- Often Greater One-Horned Rhinos will rub their horn against an object, often if horn becomes wet but this behavior also occurs when dry.
Conservation: Southern White Rhinoceros
There are only 5 species of rhino remaining today, of which, 4 are on the verge of extinction from habitat loss and illegal hunting for their horns. Rhino horn is thought to contain medicinal properties in many Asian cultures and many people are willing to pay a high price in order to obtain it.
The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) is dedicated to the survival of the world’s remaining rhinoceros species through conservation and research. IRF protects rhino populations in the wild while collecting valuable data on their biology and conservation needs. In addition, IRF supports the management and research of captive populations to improve the chances for long-term survival of all rhino species.
The Zoo has committed annual funding in support of IRF conservation efforts. In addition, the Zoo maintains breeding groups of Indian rhino and Southern white rhino. In 2013, the Zoo hosted its first annual World Rhino Day event to help educate our visitors on the plight of today’s rhino populations.
How You Can Help
Adopt an Animal!
You can help support expert animal care at the Zoo as well as local and global conservation efforts by purchasing a symbolic animal adoption package.
When you become a member of Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo you are supporting conservation year-round.
Be a Conservation Leader!
Each of us can help protect the environment, wildlife, and habitats through choices we make in our daily lives. Even small changes can make big positive impacts on the world around us.
- Write to your government leaders – Petition your state and city officials to make the sale and trade of endangered animal parts illegal.
- Wildlife habitat – Saving, protecting, and creating habitat ensures a place for wildlife to live, eat, or migrate through. You can protect rhinos by saving habitat and you can help wildlife in your own backyard by creating wildlife gardens.
- Protecting rhinos – You can support anti-poaching efforts by contributing to reputable animal reserves in Africa.