What Do Rhinos Eat?

Black rhino eating from a bush in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Black rhino eating from a bush in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Rhinoceros, often simply to referred to as rhinos, are large herbivores that are easily identified by their horned snout. The name rhinoceros is derived from the Greek words rhino, which means "nose," and ceros, meaning "horn." Five species of rhinos exist, as well as eleven subspecies. Two rhino species are native to Africa, while three are native to South Asia. All rhino species are herbivores with a plant-based diet.

Feeding Habits Of Rhinos

Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Sumatran rhinos feed on a wide variety of plants and enjoy the leaves and fruits of various plant species. They are referred to as opportunistic feeders because they eat whatever is available at that time.

Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus)

Javan rhinos prefer areas that contain bodies of water, particularly in lowlands. Their diet primarily consists of moist foliage, young shoots, twigs, and fallen fruits from trees and shrubs. Their diet is considered diverse and varied.

Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis)

Indian rhinos feed through grazing, preferring grasses to taller plants and shrubs. They prefer wetlands and spend most of their time in cool water. The species also consume aquatic plants, which are typically juicy and succulent.

White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum)

White rhinos have a wide, flat upper lip, which is a unique adaptation for feeding and allows the animal to graze on fairly short grasses. White rhinos are exclusively grazers.

Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis)

Black rhinos have a pointed upper lip that allows the species to pull twigs and leaves, as well as strip wood. Black rhinos feed on succulent plants that they can pull using their hooked lip. During the wet season, when plants are lush, the black rhino consumes the entire plant rather than just the leaves or fruits. Unlike white rhinos, black rhinos consume little grass.


More in Environment