How to Tell the Difference Between a White and a Black Rhino


Dec 29 2015
Typically speaking it should be relatively easy to tell the difference between a white rhino and a black rhino - that is should they be seen together. But the likelihood of this is slim, since a black rhino will be found browsing in denser type bush, and a white rhino in short grass. Unfortunately, due to their vulnerability to poaching they are both listed on the endangered species list (Endangered (EN) species is a species which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as likely to become extinct). Latest Sightings, strives to protect both the white & black rhino and urges all visitors to the Kruger National Park and other game reserves around the country to download the app (a community-based smartphone app that helps its users experience amazing sightings through real-time sighting alerts in game reserves around the world. Download here: (iOS App Store / Android App Store) and report any suspicious behaviour. 
 
A popular theory of the origin of the name 'white rhinoceros' is a mistranslation from Dutch to English. The English word “white” is said to have been derived by a mistranslation of the Dutch word “wijd”, meaning wide mouth. Although both species have been known to browse and graze the white rhinos have a wide square upper lip especially for grazing, and the black rhino a pointed, prehensile upper lip for browsing. As a result of the white rhinos grazing nature it cannot lift its head, while the black rhino can. Another obvious difference is size, the white rhino is larger than the black rhino - where the white typically weigh in at 2300kg, the black are approximately 800kg. 
 
Other Obvious Differences Between the Two:
 
  • Black Rhinos are more solitary than White Rhinos who enjoy a more sociable existence with other rhino.
  • Black Rhino typically have their first calves at 6-7 years while White Rhino at 4-5 years.
  • A White Rhino calf runs in front of its mom, while a Black Rhino calf runs behind its mom.
  • A White Rhino cannot swim while the Black Rhino swims well.
  • The ears of the Black are rounder than the White Rhino.
  • The white rhino flattish back with a bump near the middle, the black rhino has a more concave back.
  • The white rhino’s tail curls above their back when alarmed, and the black rhino’s tail is held out straight when alarmed.
  • The white rhino spoor is considerably larger than the black rhino, and the “W” shape on the white rhino spoor tends to make the foot look slightly elongated towards the heel.
  • Black Rhino are more aggressive, bad tempered and likely to charge than the more the timid White Rhinos.
Finally if you are driving through a game reserve and happen to identify one, Latest Sightings does not permit the tinging or tagging of rhinos, but please also remember to not geo-tag any of your pics of them. Enjoy identifying rhinos on your next trip!
 

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