White Rhino Diet
chomp. Chomp chomp chomp.” Music to my ears.
Listening to white rhino chew is one of the most
soothing sounds I can imagine. It is a soft, rhythmic
sound that is also pleasant because, let’s be honest –
an eating rhino is a happy rhino! When white rhino are
first captured from the wild and place into holding
pens, they often become anorexic and might not eat for
several days, some go so long that they have to be
released again. Fortunately, of the rhino I have spent
time with from their initial capture, I haven’t had any
I’ve had to release until they were safely translocated
in good health. Even so, it’s always nice to hear that
munching, especially after it’s been absent for a while.
White rhino are grazers, meaning their diet is primarily different
types of grass. They have wide, flat lips not unlike lawnmowers.
One of the theories as to why white rhino are called white
rhino, without being white, is that the Dutch settlers in South
Africa used the descriptive term “wide” to describe them and that
morphed into the term we use today, “white rhinoceros,” since white
rhinos are actually gray and not white, as their name implies.
While this seems logical, there is not much proof supporting it in
literature, so it remains debatable.
Like black rhino, white rhino lack incisors or canines. They have
three premolars and three molars on each side of their jaw. They
begin to lose their deciduous teeth, or baby teeth, around age 5-6
and their second set of teeth are their permanent teeth. As rhino
age, their teeth wear down in a uniform manner. The most accurate
way to determine a rhino’s age is to examine the wear on his/her
White rhino have extremely large heads that can weigh over 1000
pounds. Their large, muscular humps on their necks help support
that weight while they graze. The heaviness of their heads,
however, prevents them from raising their heads high for extended
periods of time so they generally avoid deep water. They do enjoy
wallowing in mud or shallow water.