Black Rhino Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The black rhinoceros is one of five different kinds of rhinoceroses found on Earth. Find out about the black rhinoceros, where it lives, why it is so important to protect it, and some other interesting facts about this large animal.

What is a Black Rhinoceros?

Imagine walking through tall grass one evening when suddenly you hear loud, angry snorts. You look around to see a large, stout animal with short legs and two horns standing close by. It looks right at you and snorts again, so you decide it's probably a good idea to give it some space, which is a smart move. You've just come face to face with a black rhinoceros!

A black rhinoceros is a large, brownish-gray rhinoceros. You might think a black rhinoceros would actually be black, but it isn't. Some think it was given that name as one way to tell it apart from the white rhinoceros.

Black rhinos have a pointy, top prehensile lip, which grabs branches, since they don't have fingers like you do. They use that lip to yank branches down into their mouth so they can eat the leaves and fruit off trees and bushes. Black rhinos are herbivores, which means they only eat plants, and can eat fifty to sixty pounds of those leafy snacks every day.

Black rhinos are not really black; they are more brownish-gray.
Black Rhino with Pointy Top Lip

If you want to get a better look at a black rhino, you should probably use binoculars. They protect their territory, don't like hanging out with other rhinos very often, and can be very unfriendly if you wander into their neighborhood. Though they look like chubby tanks and can weigh over 3,000 pounds, they can still run about 30 miles per hour, which is faster than you.

Black rhinos do like a type of bird called the 'ox-pecker', however, because these birds remove bugs from the rhinos' skin and clean the bugs out of open gashes.

You can sometimes spot ox-peckers on a black rhino.
Black Rhino with Ox-Peckers

Black rhinos do have thick skin, which sounds like it would be rough and tough, like a leathery shell, but it's not. In fact, they have to be careful when they go out in the sun. When you go out in the sun, you might put on sunscreen and a sunhat to protect your skin. Black rhinos don't wear hats, but they do wear sunscreen. Their sunscreen isn't the white, creamy stuff you squeeze out of a bottle, however. They roll in mud and dirt to protect them from the sun.

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