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White rhinoceros at Lake Nakuru, Kenya A rhinoceros is a large mammal with three toes on each foot. It is an ungulate, a group of herbivorous mammals that have hooves instead of claws. Rhinos like to be near water to keep cool, and roll in the mud to protect their skin from biting insects. There are five species of rhinoceros: the black and white African rhinoceroses and the Indian, Sumatran and Javan rhinoceroses. All but the white African are in danger of extinction because of hunting by humans for their horns. These are made into handles for weapons or are ground up and sold to people who believe they are medicines. Poachers are paid large sums of money to kill rhinos for their horns.

Black rhinoceros, Africa, up to 3.8 m (12.5 ft) long and 1.8 m (6 ft) tall
Black rhinoceros with calf

Raising young

A rhinoceros calf can be on its feet when it is just hours old, but will stay with its mother for up to three years. A rhinoceros mother and calf form a tight bond. A mother will defend her calf fiercely should danger approach.

Oxpeckers are birds that perch on the backs of rhinos and other savanna herbivores. They remove ticks and other parasites from the rhinos' skin.


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