Black vs. White rhino

Black vs. White rhino

Black and white rhino are the only species of rhinoceros that are native to Africa. Despite their names, they are grey-colored. Both black and white rhino have two horns on the snout (front horn is larger), which are very popular among trophy collectors and people that erroneously believe that horns of rhino have medicinal value. White rhino is classified as near threatened, while black rhino is on the list of critically endangered species due to uncontrolled hunting of these animals in the previous century. Black and white rhinos are very popular safari animals that can be easily distinguished via following features:


Black rhino usually inhabits areas covered with thick vegetation, transitional areas between grasslands and forests, mountainous forests and deserts. Mother usually runs in front of her calf to clear the area and facilitate movement of her baby. White rhino usually resides in open plains, savannas and woodlands. Since it inhabits open areas, mother usually runs behind her calf and guides it by touching rear parts of its body with her horns.


White rhino is larger than black rhino. It can reach 12 to 15 feet in length and 4000 to 6000 pounds of weight. Black rhino is 2 feet shorter (up to 12.5 feet long) and two times lighter (up to 3000 pounds of weight) than its white cousin.

Shape of the Body

White rhino has larger head and longer forehead, neck and tail than black rhino. Its head is oriented downward, with mouth close to the ground. White rhino has prominent hump above the shoulders and its hips are lower than shoulders (it has slope on the back). Unlike white rhino, black rhino has dipped back, it lacks hump on the shoulders, and its head and face are oriented upward.

Shape of Lips

Black rhino has pointed, hook-like, prehensile upper lip which can grasp twigs and buds. White rhino has flat, wide lip, which is responsible for its initial name: "wide-mouth rhino" or "weid mond rhino" in Dutch. Word "weid" was misheard as "white", and that's how white rhino earned its name.


Both black and white rhinos are herbivores, but they prefer different types of food. Black rhino is browser. Its diet is based on fruit and leaves. White rhino is grazer and its diet is based on grass.


Black rhinos of both gender are solitary creatures. White rhinos, at least females, usually live and travel in groups of 10 to 15 animals, while adult males prefer solitary life.


Black rhino is much more aggressive than white rhino, but white rhinos are more numerous in the wild and they more often encounter people and get in conflict with them.

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