Indian rhinos roam the grasslands, forests and swamps near fresh bodies of water in Nepal and India. They’re the largest species of rhino and live to be between 30 and 45 years old in the wild. Their diet mainly consists of plants, fruits and shrub and tree branches.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Perissodactyla
Family - Rhinocerotidae
Genus - Rhinoceros
Species - R. unicornis
Common Names - Indian Rhinoceros, Greater One-horned Rhino, Great Indian Rhinoceros
The Indian rhino has several folds of grayish-brown skin. Although these folds resemble protective armor plates, they are not as thick as they appear and are actually very flexible. This type of rhino also has one black horn, measuring between eight to 25 inches in length, on its snout. The Indian rhino typically weighs between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds as an adult and reaches between 5.75 and 6.5 feet in height and 10 to 12.5 feet in length.
Male Indian rhinos begin breeding when they’re between seven and nine years old, while females are ready to breed when they’re between three to five years old. Breeding is characterized by aggressive behavior from both the male and female, including biting and chasing each other. The gestation period lasts around 16 months, after which a single calf weighing about 100 pounds is born. Most births take place between February and April. Calves stay with their mothers until the next calf is born.
The Indian rhino typically lives on its own, although small groups of rhinos sometimes gather at a common area of mud, called a wallow, during the afternoon. The rhinos wallow in the mud to prevent sunburn and insect bites. The mud helps their skin stay soft. Male Indian rhinos mark their territory by urinating or defecating. If an unknown male enters their territory, they will sometimes fight by using their incisor teeth.
Indian rhinos were once found in a much larger area of the Indian subcontinent, but they’re only found in northeastern India and Nepal now. The species almost went extinct in the early 20th century, but their numbers have grown from around 200 in the early 1900s to roughly 2,575 as of 2007.
As of 2008, the Indian rhinoceros is listed as Vulnerable. Populations in Nepal and certain areas of northeastern India are decreasing, while legal protections have allowed Indian rhinoceros populations overall to increase. The species was listed as endangered from 1986 through 1996 due mainly to poaching and habitat loss.