The rhinoceros is a big, bulky mammal that is indigenous to eastern and southern Africa, northern India, southern Nepal, and limited areas in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Where the rhino lives is the main indication of its species. These horned beasts prefer open grasslands and floodplains or swamps and rain forests.
The name rhinoceros was derived from the Greek words for nose and horn; they are literally a horned nose animal.
The types of rhinos are the African black and white, the Sumatran, the Java, and the Indian rhinoceros. The Java and Indian species only have one horn whilst the others have a pair.
Other than that, all species of rhinos share the physical characteristics of a particularly large head, thick legs, and broad chests. Rhinos have notoriously poor eyesight but excellent hearing.
There are two types of African rhinos, the black and the white. These names are a misnomer, however, because both of them are actually coloured a brownish-grey.
The differences between the two are slight. The white rhino has a wider mouth, which makes it easier to graze on grass while the black rhino’s narrower mouth and prehensile lip are used to feed on leaves and shrubs.
There are three species of Asian rhinos which include the Indian, Javan, and Sumatran rhinoceros.
The Indian rhino has a mouth that is broad and hooked, with a small prehensile lip. It looks as if it is sporting a coat of armor but this is due to the many folds of skin covering its body.
The Indian rhino is sometimes referred to as the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros. Its habitat is the swampy land of Nepal and northeast India.
The Javan rhino also goes by the name of Lesser One-Horned Rhinoceros. This species is the rarest of all the rhinos with a habitat limited to the forests of Southeast Asia. They are also most in danger of becoming extinct.
A Sumatran rhino is the smallest and hairiest of all the species. Living only on the island of Sumatra, loss of native habitat is also causing the Sumatran rhino to be in danger of extinction. Breeding efforts in captivity have met with little success.
Because they are not cute and cuddly like other animals such as Panda bears or as intelligent as some like chimps and orangutans, rhinos are often overlooked in the effort to conserve their species. This is a shame since several species of the rhino are severely threatened.