GREATER ONE-HORNED RHINOCEROS/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus


DESCRIPTION: The second largest mammal in India after the elephant, the
Greater One-horned Rhinoceros is best recognized by its large bulk and a single
horn seemingly balanced on its nose. Two large folds of skin across its flanks and tubercles on its rear, which look like rivets on the skin, give it an armour-plated look and distinguish it from all the other four species of rhino.
The actual colour of the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros’s skin is a deep slate-
grey, but it looks ashy when encrusted with alluvial mud, or ink-black when wet. The skin is almost hairless. The hair is restricted to the tip of its small, naked tail,
its large and tubular ears tips, and eyelashes over small and beady eyes. The
hooves are large and three-toed.
Males are slightly larger and have thicker neck musculature, marginally longer horns and lower mandibular incisors as compared to females. Horns average cm in males and cm in females while incisors average 5–9 cm in males and 4–
5 cm in females. The horn weighs an average of 750 g.
The male genitalia are also visible at times. Newborns are pinkish-grey at birth and turn into adult colouration in a few
months. The horn starts to grow by a year and a half.

BEHAVIOUR: A creature of habit, the rhino regularly follows the same walking paths or dandis when foraging. It also uses the same spot to defecate, forming large ‘toilets’. This behaviour makes it vulnerable to poachers who wait for it at
pre-determined locations. Indian Rhinoceroses do not use their horn to gore
victims, but use their sharp teeth to bite off chunks of flesh instead. The teeth are
also used when fighting among themselves.

DISTRIBUTION: Distributed as nine distinct populations spread in the Terai and Bhabhar tracts of northern India, and the Brahmaputra River basin in the North-East. It occurs in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. 

HABITAT: Tall alluvial grasslands and riverine forest–grassland mosaics with swampy patches in the Gangetic and Brahmaputra river systems in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Size: 175–346 cm; 

Wt: 1,500-2,000 kg (male);

IUCN Status: Vulnerable


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