Greater One-horned Rhinoceros
Rhinoceros unicornis

I Don’t Have Armor

Although these rhinos appear to have armor plating, it’s simply very thick skin with little lumps (tubercles) resembling rivets, and pinkish folds in places that suggest armor. The folds in their skin trap and hold water when they exit watery places, which helps with regulating temperature.

I’m a Unicorn (Sort Of)

Greater one-horned rhinos are not mythical creatures, but their Latin name, unicornis, does mean “having one horn.” Rhino horns grow on their noses, unlike other land mammals whose horns grow on their heads. The horns, which are present on both males and females, continue to grow throughout their lifetimes, reaching 8-24 inches in length. They are primarily used for plowing the ground to look for food and occasionally for self-defense. In reality, they’re not even true horns at all. They have no bone, and are made of thousands of compressed hairlike strands of keratin, the same material found in human hair and fingernails.

I’m Fond of Water

They often live near rivers that flood during the rainy season. During the heat of the day, they spend much of their time in water or mud holes bathing, eating aquatic plants, loosely socializing, and protecting themselves from heat, sunburn, and parasites. Because of their need and fondness for water, these rhinos are excellent swimmers who can dive and even feed underwater.

Diet: grasses, other plants

Zoo Diet: formulated feed, hay, starch, veggies, fruits, greens

Habitat: forests, grasslands, wetlands, savannas

Weight: 4,000 – 6,000 lbs


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The Phoenix Zoo is one of the largest non-profit zoos in the U.S., caring for over 3,000 animals, with nearly 400 species represented, including many threatened/endangered species.