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Rhinoceros at the Racine Zoo
Eastern Black Rhinoceros

An Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) in it's enclosure at the Racine Zoo in Racine, Wisconsin.

The Eastern black rhinoceros is a member of the order Perissodactyla. It is native to Eastern Africa in areas from montane rain forest to arid scrubland, if water is available. A herbivorous browser, the rhino eats leafy plants as well as branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes and fruit.

At a size of 10-12 feet long, up to 5 feet high at shoulder and weighing 1-2 tons, the Eastern Black Rhino has two horns made up of fibrous keratin. The forward horn is the larger of the two, up to 28 inches in length. Their coat color often varies with the soil color of the habitat they reside in due to wallowing behavior. The Rhino species do not differ much in color, with the names of "black" and "white" rhino probably arising from local soil covering the first animals that were seen.

This species is listed as endangered and trade of this species is prohibited by international law.

Mating of the Eastern Black Rhinoceros is non-seasonal, however births peak toward the end of the rainy season in drier habitats. Gestation takes 15-16 months with a single young being born weighing about 85 pounds at birth. New borns are active soon after birth and can follow mother after about 3 days. Rhinos are mature at 5 years and have a life span of up to 50 years in captivity. (Source:


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This page updated or reviewed in March 2011