If you are asking yourself, “What do rhinos eat?” it will depend a bit on the species but they are all herbivores. Even though these massive, prehistoric looking animals look like they would be meat eaters, they are not.
Rhinos have a hooked lip, called a prehensile that they use to strip away leaves from their choice vegetation. No matter the species, they enjoy feeding early in the morning and at night. Rhinos love a large array of plants, in fact, they feed on over 200 plants that are included in 50 different families.
These animals absolutely love euphorbias and acacia plants and many other woody species and palatable herbs. It is interesting to note that the black rhino does not like grass but the white rhino does. A study was done on the black rhino on a ranch in Kenya to observe their feeding habits. Over 100 species of specific plants lead to the observation that of all the places in the world, the Tsava National Park is the most ideal location for a rhino to live due to its rich vegetation choices.
These mysterious animals have been observed to eat a specific part of a certain plants during a rainy season and then go back and feed on other parts of the same plant during the dry season. An exception however is the ferula communis plant which is a giant fennel. The rhinos will eat this plant during rainy seasons but not at all during dry seasons. This is believed to be because the plant goes through chemical changes making it less palatable.
This observed behavior proves that when trying to determine the answer to, “What do rhinos eat?” it is proven that they have very picky eating habits. Rhinos will travel much further for food during dry season to find their preference of food and pass up other food sources. This often leads the rhinos into dangerous situations with poachers.
Rhinos have a digestive system that can tolerate a diet that is high in fiber but they really prefer leafy vegetation. The African sausage tree and woody pods are a few more of their favorites.
Habit Of Rhinos
Rhinos live in a variety of different habitats. Black and white rhinos reside in dry savannah woodlands in Africa while the Indian rhino finds its home near rivers in all grasslands. Java and Borneo rhinos are very rare and hard to find and they live on the Sumatra islands in topical rainforests.
White rhinos prefer to live in groups, similar to cattle and they are happy in varied habitats as long as they have an abundance of grass to graze on. The other rhino species are only able to survive in their preferred habitat so due to habitat destruction, the population of rhinos is declining.
A Day In The Life Of A Rhino
Although white rhinos are happy living in herds, the rest of the rhinos prefer to live alone. A rhino marks its entire territory with piles of dung and urine. Indian rhinos are very unique and have glands in their front feet that leave behind trails of scent to mark their area. Rhinos are very active and feed at the coolest points of the day at dusk and dawn and stay hidden from the sun during the hottest points of the day.
Rhinos spend their day grazing in the shade or lounging somewhere cool. Since rhinos pretty much eat all day long, they make a “mess” everywhere they go. Rhino dung is very dry and you can often see clearly what they have been eating still intact since they don't chew as much as they should. These piles will often have seeds present that will germinate and eventually grow. Rhinos play a very important part in maintaining their own environment.