Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order – Perissodactyla
Family – Rhinocerotidae
Genus - Diceros
Species – D. bicornis
Common Name – Black Rhinoceros, Hook-lipped Rhinoceros
Black rhinos are mostly solitary animals, preferring to be alone. They are grazing plant-eaters that consume grass, leaves, bushes, twigs, fruits, and small trees.
Black rhino pregnancy lasts for about 15 months. The calves can weigh over 100 pounds at birth. They will stay with their mother for around two to three years before going off on their own.
Black rhinos measure just under six feet high at the shoulder, and can reach a length of over 12 feet. They can weigh over 3,000 pounds.
They have two horns on their nose made of keratin, which is the same substance fingernails are made from. The front horn is longer and can measure nearly two feet long, and in very rare cases nearly five feet long.
Despite their common name, both the black rhino and the other African rhinoceros species, the white rhino, are gray in coloration. The main way to distinguish them from one another is the shape of their lips – the black rhino has a pointed, hooked upper lip, while the white rhino has a flattened, square-shaped lip.
The black rhino and white rhino are descended from a common ancestor, and split apart about five million years ago.
The origin of the name “black rhino” is not clear, but it is believed it may have arisen to separate it from the white rhino. Since neither rhino species is black or white, some scientists have taken to referring to the white rhino as the square-lipped rhino, and the black rhino as the hook-lipped rhino.