Sumatran Rhinoceros - Characteristics, Feeding and Conservation

Sumatran rhinoceros: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Among the large herbivorous mammals on the planet are...

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Among the large herbivorous mammals on the planet, we find rhinos, which are represented by five species, the most primitive being those belonging to the genus Dicerorhinus. In this genus, there is only one currently living species and it is Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, commonly known as Sumatran rhinoceros.

This perissodactyl has distinctive characteristics within the rhinoceros group and at PlanèteAnimal, we want you to know more about it. That's why we encourage you to continue reading to learn all about the rhinoceros of Sumatra!


  • Asia
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Characteristics of the Sumatran Rhinoceros

Currently, three subspecies of Sumatran rhinoceros are recognized:

  • Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis, which is probably extinct.
  • Dicerorhinus sumatrensis sumatrensis.
  • Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni.

Sumatran rhinos generally have dimensions between 2 and just over 3 meters, with heights that do not exceed one and a half meters. As for the weight, it varies from 800 to 2000 kg, with the females being smaller than the females.In this sense, they are the smallest rhinoceros species that exist. With regard to the particular features of the Sumatran rhinoceros, we must mention the two folds of skin that surround the body, in particular at the level of the legs and the trunk. Another peculiar aspect is the short-haired coat, between brown and reddish tones, which covers the whole animal and its skin is gray or brown. Usually older individuals tend to lose these hairs.

Sumatran rhinos have two horns, with the front one being more pronounced than the rear one. Their mouths are rounded in shape and, unlike other species which lose them as they grow, Sumatran rhinos retain their incisors as adults. Likewise, they have strong lips which are very useful for their feeding type.

Discover all types of rhinos in this other article if you want to know more about these animals.

Habitat of the Sumatran Rhinoceros

The former range is not precisely known, however, it is known that they were previously present in the Himalayan hills of Bhutan, northeast India, southern China , Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Vietnam, Malacca Peninsula and Borneo.

Currently, it is found in parts of Indonesia where it lives in ecosystems characterized by mountain formations and water bodies. The Sumatran rhino can live in a variety of habitat types, but they are mostly found in rainforests and montane forests. It also tends to move on the fringes of jungle and secondary forest.

It should be noted that in times of rain with floods it tends to move to higher ground, while in times of drought it is able to leave the territory in search of 'water.It also lives in areas with s alt marshes.

Habits of the Sumatran Rhinoceros

One of their main customs is to lead a solitary life, especially the males, while the females tend to be accompanied by their young. The former have larger territories than females, which usually do not exceed 500 hectares. It is common for the territories of the two to overlap.

They are very territorial, mainly the males, who delimit their area very well. They do this by marking boundaries by dragging their hind legs to clean dirt and then defecate or urinate on the marks. They also tend to break through vegetation to indicate their presence in the area. So if a male reaches an area where these indicators are, he will change his route.

On the other hand, they are animals that tend to move according to the season, thus fleeing the floods towards the highlands and the heat in the event of drought.They usually spend the day in valleys or in bodies of water because they are good swimmers. They tend to feed before dawn or late afternoon.

Sumatran rhinoceros diet

As we have seen, Sumatran rhinos are herbivorous animals. Curious fact about their way of eating, before consuming large amounts of plants, they first explore, test the options, then focus on a particular area, in which they will tear off the parts of the plant to be consumed, sometimes they trample it before ingesting it.

They eat young tree leaves, branches, bark, seeds and small shrubs. They are attracted by the consumption of wild mangoes, figs and bamboos. They require the intake of certain minerals such as sodium and calcium, for which they usually drink saline water. These large adult herbivores can consume up to 50 kg of vegetation per day.

Reproduction of the Sumatran rhinoceros

We don't really have precise information about the reproduction of the Sumatran rhinoceros. However, we know that the majority of births generally occur when there is the most rain, that is to say between October and May. Gestation lasts between 12 and 16 months and they always have only one baby per birth.

The young, at birth, weigh about 25 kg, are 90 cm long and 60 cm high. They are born already covered with a short black coat that will change later. It is not common to see the young before two months, as they remain hidden in the dense vegetation. After this time, they follow with their mother.

A representative fact of Sumatran rhinoceros reproduction is that females wait between 3 and 4 years before reproducing again.

Threats and conservation status of Sumatran rhinos

The Sumatran rhinoceros is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a critically endangered species.The origin of this state is linked to its low population density, the loss of its habitat and poaching. This status is also due to habitat changes due to wildfires, bird hunting and illegal fishing.

Various strategies have been developed to protect the species, such as its inclusion in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, in addition to its official consideration as protected species. On the other hand, efforts have increased to develop breeding plans for Sumatran rhinos in sanctuaries to ensure their reproduction.

How many Sumatran rhinos are there?

According to data provided by the IUCN, there are currently about thirty specimens of Sumatran rhinoceros, something very alarming

Pictures of Sumatran Rhinoceros

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!