Rhinoceroses or rhinos are a member of the big 5, the 5 biggest animals found in Africa. These huge animals belong to the Rhinocerotidae family and there are five different species of rhinoceroses found. Two species of rhinos are found in Africa and three are native to South Asia.
These animals are easily identified by the horns on their nose, their large bodies, and short legs. Just like an Elephant, rhinos are highly endangered because they are hunted for their horns. The horns are sold on black markets to manufacture ornaments or traditional medications.
Because rhinos are so endangered, they are often guarded by wildlife farmers and nature conservatories. Some of these rhinos are so heavily protected, armed guards, need to sleep along with them in the wild just to keep them protected.
Rhinos are also supplemented with food to help keep them healthy and alive during drought seasons. The feed they are offered is specially designed to keep them as healthy as possible. They also graze on various foods they find in their natural habitat.
Here is a quick look at the best foods these large animals love to eat.
Rhinos love to eat a lot of grass. The black rhino’s diet consists of 40 percent grass. They will spend many hours of their day grazing. They also walk with their heads close to the ground so they can easily reach short grasses that grow 5 – 6 inches high.
Rhinos prefer low-energy grasses like Pennisetum, Panicum maximum, and Digitaria. White rhinos are especially fond of grasses but black and Indian rhinos will also feed on grass.
All rhino species enjoy eating vegetation. They enjoy eating various parts of foliage such as twigs, bark, fruits, and the roots of the plant. They are not very fussy regarding the type of plants they eat. These animals will eat all sorts of cultivated crops and just about any plant they find in their natural environment. Asian rhinos are particularly fond of eating bamboo shoots but will also eat other types of vegetation.
Rhinos do love to eat various fruit types. Typically, they only eat fruits they find in their natural environment but they can also be offered other fruit types. Rhinos are fond of figs, mangos, berries, apples, and many others.
These large animals can also cause a lot of damage to agricultural areas because they enjoy eating vegetable matter. They will eat all parts of veggies like carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and many other types.
If food is scarce, rhinos will use their large horns to uproot plants so they can feed on the roots. Plant roots are also a valuable food source to keep them hydrated during drought seasons when water is scarce.
In captivity, rhinos are usually fed on soy and alfalfa. They can digest these foods but it isn’t good food to offer these endangered animals because researchers believe that some foods like soy contain ingredients that affect rhino’s reproductive cycles which reduces their reproductive rate.
Rhinos do need to drink a lot of water. If they have access to lots of fresh green grass, they can go without water for up to a week. If it is particularly hot or if a rhino is kept on dry fees then they should have access to fresh water every single day.
Rhinos also enjoy feeding on a variety of commercially produced food pellets. These pellets are made from a variety of ingredients such as hay, straw, Cavallino, and fruits and are ideal for keeping rhinos healthy.
Rhinos eat almost any type of vegetation including agricultural vegetation. This means that these animals can cause a lot of damage in the agricultural sectors. They can also consume fruits but they still follow a strict vegetarian diet.
Rhinos can be very dangerous. They are often protective of their young and they can be very territorial. You should take care when feeding rhinos because these large animals can easily kill you if they feel threatened.
Rhinos are usually fed by offering foods in a dedicated feeding area and their feeding times are usually scheduled to help prevent risky scenarios.
What do Rhinos Eat in The Wild?
In the wild, rhinos can only eat food they find growing in their natural environment. They mostly feed on grasses and foliage but will also munch on fruits if they find them in the wild. Some wild rhinos can also become a local danger if they learn about local agricultural settings.
In captivity, rhinos are usually fed on soy and alfalfa. These are not ideal foods for these animals because it affects their ability to reproduce. Many rhino keepers will also supplement their rhinos by offering them rhino pellets.
Baby rhinos are called calves. These mammals need to drink a lot of milk to stay healthy. When calves reach an age of about 2 months, they are usually fully weaned. They will start to forage for foods from a very young age but focus on softer food types when they are still small.
A baby rhino needs 27of milk per day. They are also fed up to 7 times per day.
An adult rhino needs to eat about 1% of their body weight per day. This doesn’t seem like a lot until you find out what they weigh. These animals typically weigh 700 – 2000 kg. This means that an adult rhino can eat from 45 – 200kg of food every day.
Rhinos are grazers. They are constantly foraging for food and will feed several times throughout the day. They need to feed constantly because most of their natural foods are low-energy food types.
Rhinos do not eat meat or humans but they are still very dangerous. They are very protective of their herd and young and can easily maul you to death if you get too close to them. Even tamed rhinos can be unpredictable and dangerous.