Greater One-Horned Rhino Reproduction and Mother-Offspring Relationship

Greater one-horned rhino females generally start breeding from age 4 to 6. Males usually begin breeding when they become the dominant bull, from age 10 to 15. Physically they are able to breed at a younger age, but are not allowed when a more dominant bull is present. During greater one-horned rhino courtship, males and females can become aggressive. After breeding, the male usually stays with the female for an extra day or two to keep other males away.

Gestation for greater one-horned rhinos is 15 to 16 months, similar to their white rhino relatives. They usually have a 3 to 4 year interval between calves. The mothers allow the calves to stay with them until they are weaned which takes place between 18 and 24 months of age. After weaning, the calf might be rejected or might stay with the mother for another year or two.

Greater one-horned rhino mothers are protective of their young. They have few natural predators, but tigers are a threat.  Mother and offspring pairings are usually the only long-term social grouping in which an adult can be found. Groups of young males might travel together, presumably for added protection. Larger mixed groups might be found together at a wallow but these rhinos leave the wallow separately and continue their primarily solitary lives in their own territories.










Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.