Rhinoceros, often called by the name rhinos, are easily distinguished to other animals as they have horn on the noses. The name is derived from the word Rhino, which is Greek for nose, and Ceros, which means horn. Then, what do rhinos eat?
Rhinos have a plant-based diet that makes this animal classified into herbivores. There are five species and eleven subspecies of rhinos that are native to Africa to South Asia, and all of them are herbivores.
While all rhinos are following plant-based diet, the eating habit is different due to various of locations in which each species lives in.
For start, the ones living in the zoo often fed with foods that are made out of soy and alfalfa. This is different than the rhinos in the wild, as those are not their natural food.
However, feeding the rhinos this way might result in the low birth rate of rhinos as soy is believed to have a direct effect of the estrogen in animals’ reproductive cycles, which is called phytoestrogen.
What Do Rhinos Eat?
1. White and Black Rhinos
The most common Rhinos are black and white Rhinos. However, what differentiates both of these species are not the color. Both of these types of large herbivores are gray in color. What makes them different is actually the upper lip, which is pointed in black Rhinos and squared in white Rhinos.
To identify if a Rhino is white, you can look at the upper lip. The squared, wide and flat upper lip identifies that the Rhino is considered White Rhino. This is due to the unique adaptation on what do rhinos eat, so they can consume short grasses and some leaves.
The lack of pointed upper lip, like the ones that Black Rhinos have, is the reason why they don’t consume twigs or dig for roots. Therefore, they exclusively only consume the grasses and leaves, leaving them known as grazers.
On the other hand, the pointed upper lip owned by black rhinos are helpful for them to break what do rhinos eat, like twigs and branches.
Black rhinos also consume the fruits and only little amount of grass. On wet season where the plants are easier to consume, they would eat the entire plant.
2. What Rhinos Eat Based on Habitat
Rhinos that live in the wild also have different eating habits. Sumatran rhinos consume whatever they can find when they are hungry, from leaves to the fruits, which is why their diet variety is wide.
On the other hand, Javan rhinos that live in the lowlands prefer to have more water on the diet. The foods that Javan rhinos consume are diverse and mostly consists of moist foliage, twigs as well as fallen fruits.
All the way from India, Indian rhinos prefer to eat grasses as well as aquatic plants. They prefer juicy plants and spend a lot of time in a cool water.
Any types of rhinos get their moisture out from the grass, which make them able to go for up to 5 days without drinking anything. Additionally, they prefer to eat consistently throughout the day instead of having specific mealtime.
However, if what do rhinos eat are too many twigs and branches instead of grass, they could probably only stay hydrated without water for only up to 1 day. If you are interested in what other animals eat, check out what do cheetahs eat as well!