Endangered Species: Rhinoceros

A Christiansburg Elementary Project
Submitted by Tyler of Christiansburg Elementary School
Christiansburg, VA, U.S.A.


Photographer Unknown

Why Study This Topic? What Was Already Known Search for Information Description of Plant or Animal Habitat Requirements
Adaptations Reasons for Endangerment Restoration Actions What Was Learned Conclusions from Research

Why Study This Topic?

  Before I started searching about my animal, the Rhino, I first had to know what I would want to learn about this amazing animal. Since these animals are endangered, I would want to know why they were endangered and approximately how many were left in the wild. I would also want to find out how its lifestyle is like ours and how it is different. I would also want to learn how many babies it can have at one time. I would want to know about this animal, so I could be an expert on it and tell other people about it if they are studying it too. Besides, just wanting to learn about an animal is fun, because I feel like no one else knows about the animal except for me.

What Was Already Known

  Some facts about the rhino were already known to me, but not all of them. I already knew that the rhino were hunted by poachers for their long horns. I also knew some little birds would roost on the heads of grazing rhinos, without the rhinos even noticing them.
  The rhino is the largest mammal, except for the elephant, and it weighs about three to four tons. The rhino also rolls in mud to cool itself off in the hot sun. Again, the rhino can be fierce if something comes between it and its young. Again, I also know its horn is strong and the mother rhino will use it on its enemies at any cost.

Search for Information

  Soon I started searching. I first relied on the Internet. I went to "Yahoo" on Netsearch of my computer, but it didn't tell me much. I then went to Netsearches "Hot Bot", and "Excite" for further information, but none was given to me. Then I turned to books. I tried the encyclopedia to see if they had any information on this animal. As always, they did. It was helpful and probably gave me twice as much knowledge on the rhino than I already knew. Finally, I went to my school library for the last resource. The two rhino books I checked out gave me the most help to do my report and to get it done without problems. As you know, not everything can go that smoothly. As I said, Netsearch was not as great as I thought it would be. The links gave me some know-how, but it just wasn't enough.

Description of Plant or Animal

  The rhinos are thought to be related to the hippo and the elephant. Its ancestors, like the Great horned rhino, lived on this land with the dinosaurs. Its horn is made of keratin instead of the ivory, which most people think it is made of. The White rhino's name comes from the word meaning "wide", referring to its lips instead of its body. The smallest, the Samaritan rhino, is only the weight of one small car. The biggest, the White rhino, weighs about three times as much as the Samaritan. All the rest of the family is between the two.
  The bland gray of the rhino's skin is thought to be rusty and ugly to most people, but it is caused when it rolls in liquid substances.

Habitat Requirements

  When searching, I had to find out how it lives and where it lives. Most rhinos drink from the nearest pond. Even though they travel, they try to drink from the same pond and water source. Rhinos are thought to be carnivorous, because of the way they look, but they are herbivores. Usually, all rhinos graze on grass, tree leaves, and bushes and will never touch meat. I believe most rhinos sleep outside under trees, and never in an abandoned cave. I also think they can sometimes sleep standing. If someday, the rhinos are to the point of extinction and in zoos, they would need quite a bit of space. I think one rhino would need approximately 20 yards by 20 yards, so it would still have some living space.


  The rhino is an exciting animal to read about. This gray colored animal is the biggest mammal in the world, except for the Elephant. Even though they have terrible eyesight, they make it up with their kneen senses of hearing and smelling.
  When grazing on greens, sometimes cattle egrets will roost on top of the rhino's head while the animal is eating.
&nbspEven though the rhino is feared, it has few predators who try to feed on it. A lot of the time, tigers will sneak up on one of the young and try to capture it. If the mother rhino sees this, she will slash her horn at him. Most of their time, the baby is not harmed, but some babies are less fortunate than others.
  People thought that the rhinos horn is made of ivory, but it is isn't. In fact, the horn is made of packed together strands of hair called keratin. &nbspThough the rhino is large, even the biggest ones can charge at speeds of 35 miles an hour.
&nbspOn the rhino's foot are three stubby toes. As it walks , only two of the three toes function right. Its bland gray skin camouflages it on stones and on some glimmering water.

Reasons for Endangerment

  Most of the time, rhinos sleep under trees. Now, they are to the point of extinction, because people are wiping out the trees on the savannahs. The rhinos are also being killed by some members of the cat family such as tigers and cheetahs. These cats prey on the young, rather than the mother of father. Pollution such as toxic waste and pesticide are on the grass, and when the rhinos eat grass, they die. The population is declining because of humans. Now, we must make up for it and try to help these animals live to see a brighter day.

Restoration Actions

  As the rhinos are being hurt, some people are caring for these beautiful animals. A program in South Africa has made it illegal to hunt and kill the White rhinos. Some researchers are studying rhinos to see how humans can increase the population of these rhinos. Now, there are about 11,000 rhinos left in the wild. People are donating money to help give researchers devices, and expensive mapping items to see how we can prevent them from becoming extinct.

What Was Learned

  Throughout my research, I found so many interesting facts about the rhino. Now that I've done all my research, I feel like a scientist who studies rhinos now. One cool thing I learned is that a rhino's horn is not made of ivory, but of keratin like in my fingernails. I also learned the rhino has no sweat glands, so it keeps cool by rolling in different liquids. The rhino is a grazer who eats grass, tree leaves, and bushes for their daily diet. It also has bad eyesight, but makes up for it with its kneen sense of smell and sound. A weird thing is about the rhino, is that the it doesn't carry the young on its back like most mammels do. The horn of the rhino can be used for fighting and for digging up food from the ground. When cooling itself off, cattle egrets roost on top of the rhino's heads while the animal grazes. Some scientists also think the rhino is closely related to the hippopotamous and the elephant. Some of its ancestors lived on the earth millions of years ago.

Conclusions From Research

  Now that I have learned about this extrodinary animal, I can put it to work. I can start by donating little bits of money to fund programs and try to get other people to help the rhino. Now that I know about the rhino's plight, I feel a responsibility toward the it, and I can help it if I ever come across one.
  I have the confidence I can put my know-how into play by telling groups how I feel. In the future, instead of the rhinos being extinct, I will try my hardest to help these animals live as long as humans do. Hopefully, others will see how I feel and donate funds to keep this beautiful mammal from extinction.


Waxo, John Bonnet (1987). Rhinos. Creative Education, Minnesota, pages 6-23.
Switzer, Merebeth (1989). Rhinoceros. Grolier Education Corporation, Connecticut, pages 5-44.
"http://www.loki.ur.utk.edu/ut2kids/zoo/rhino.html" Rhino Web Site New Book of Knowledge (1981). Grolier Incorporated, United States, page 21.

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Christiansburg Elementary
Last updated on March 12, 1998