Indian rhinoceros: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. There are three species of rhinos in Asia, a group of...

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There are three species of rhinoceros in Asia, a group of megaherbivores that are among the largest land mammals on the planet. The genus Rhinoceros includes two closely related species, one of which is Rhinoceros unicornis, commonly known as the Indian rhinoceros. Although it is a species whose population has gradually recovered, it continues to be of concern to international organizations that deal with biodiversity on the planet.

This species was on the brink of extinction in the early 1900s. The conversion of its habitat to agricultural areas and poaching for its horn and other body parts, such as its skin , generated great pressure, as with all species of the Rhinocerotidae family.

PlanèteAnimal committed to the current dissemination of animal biodiversity presents this sheet on the characteristics of the Indian rhinoceros and we invite you to sit down to continue reading.


  • Asia
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Nepal

Characteristics of Indian Rhinoceros

They are large animals, measuring over 3 meters in length, around 1.8 meters in height and weighing an average of 2 tonnes. The coloring of their skin varies between brown and silver gray, with the presence of plaques in different areas of the body, which arise from the folds formed by the skin itself, which gives the impression that it is covered with an armor ; this characteristic is especially present in males at the level of the neck. Another characteristic of the skin is the presence of bulges in different places on the body.

Both males and females of the Indian rhinoceros species have a single horn, which can reach a length of more than 50 cm. As in all other rhinos, the horn is not a bony structure, but a keratin structure that is not attached to the animal's bone. Females tend to be smaller and lighter than males.

Habitat of the Indian Rhinoceros

The habitat of the Indian rhinoceros consists mainly of woodlands, grasslands and wetlands. In this regard, it can be found in the riparian grasslands of some watersheds and, although it has a preference for floodplains, it is also present in the swamps and forests that border them. Due to the expansion of human territory, the natural range of rhinos has been greatly reduced.

Previously, the species had a range that included northern India, the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra basins, as well as the borders of Pakistan and Burma, and parts of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.It is now only found in protected areas of India, such as the Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary or the following national parks: Kaziranga, Manas, Orang, Jaldapara, Gorumara, Dudhwa and Katerniaghat, as well as parts of the Nepal.

Habits and lifestyle of the Indian rhinoceros

Males are solitary, with territories that are not as structured as those of other rhino species, such as the white rhino, so their areas overlap, although in some cases this can lead to confrontations when they meet in the areas where they feed and wallow, confrontations that can sometimes even be deadly. Females are also individual in their habits, unless they momentarily join a male for breeding or are with their young who have not yet become independent.

They are excellent swimmers, so it's not uncommon to see them spending long periods in the water.They tend to produce feces loaded with pheromones, which they accumulate to indicate their presence. They also emit different types of sounds in order to communicate. They tend to feed at dawn or dusk, thus avoiding movement during the hottest hours of the day.

Indian rhinoceros diet

The Indian rhinoceros, like other species, has a diet based exclusively on the consumption of plants, as it is a herbivore. Its diet, although composed largely of herbs or grasses, especially at higher elevations, also commonly includes leaves, branches, riparian or aquatic plants, fruits, and even man-made plantings. These rhinos are also attracted to licking s alty or mineral-rich stones, presumably to meet these nutritional needs.

To feed on vegetation, they rely on their prehensile upper lip, which protrudes slightly from the lower lip.Once the food has been taken, it is pushed completely into the mouth for further chewing. These rhinos need water several times a day.

Reproduction of the Indian rhinoceros

The Indian rhino species can breed throughout the year and it is usually the dominant males that breed before their subordinates. It is suggested that the males perceive the females by the smell they give off when they are in heat, a kind of courtship then begins and they chase them. However, there is usually some confrontation between the pair until the female permits union.

Gestation lasts about 16 months and results in the birth of a single calf weighing an average of 70 kg. Sexual maturity differs considerably: while for males it is around 9 years old, for females it is between 4 and 5 years old. Females tend to produce offspring about every 3 years during their reproductive life.A few days before giving birth to a new offspring, they ensure that the baby born from a previous union becomes independent.

State of conservation of the Indian rhinoceros

The Indian rhinoceros is in a vulnerable conservation state and, as mentioned before, was on the brink of extinction. Currently, the main threats are poaching for the commercialization of horn and skin, but this is not the only reason; the invasion of certain exotic plants in the area also competes with those which constitute the food base of the Indian rhinoceros. On the other hand, the alteration of the habitat of the Indian rhinoceros due to the development of agricultural activities and the reduction of wetlands where these animals live, exert significant pressure on the species. The concentration of these animals in small population areas also affects their stability.

The conservation measures, in addition to it being declared a protected species and the horn trade being considered illegal, also include the Indian rhinoceros being listed under the Convention on the international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.The governments of India and Nepal, as well as non-governmental organizations, have made considerable efforts for the protection of Indian rhinoceros species. However, increased pressure is needed to fully control hunting and the environmental impact on these animals.

Indian Rhinoceros photos

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