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IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Description

Amongst the most charismatic and recognisable of Africa's mega-fauna (4), the white rhinoceros is the largest of the five rhinoceros species and one of the world's biggest land animals, second only to the African and Asian elephant in size (5) (6). Unlike its common name suggests, this enormous, virtually hairless mammal is not in fact white, but slate-grey to yellowish-brown in colour (5) (7). The 'white' likely comes from a mistranslation of the Afrikaner word for 'wide', referring to the animal's wide mouth (5). Indeed, this species is often called the 'square-lipped rhinoceros' because of its broad, square, rather than pointed, flexible upper lip, differentiating it from the black rhino (Diceros bicornis). The white rhinoceros can also be distinguished from its African cousin by its longer skull, less sharply defined forehead and more pronounced shoulder hump (7). Like the black rhinoceros and Sumatran rhinoceros, this species has two horns, the front being longer and averaging 60 cm in length, but occasionally reaching up to a enormous 1.5 m (5) (7).

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Source: ARKive

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