Sumatran Rhino Facts | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior

The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the world’s smallest rhino species. Once distributed in the swamps and rainforests of Thailand, China, Maynmar, Laos, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India, is now critically endangered. The Sumatran rhino is a rare species in the wild also because they move alone.

Sumatran Rhino Facts  

Anatomy

  • The body length of an adult Sumatran rhino is 250 cm (8.2 ft) and it stands 120–145 cm (3.94–4.76 ft) at the shoulder height.
  • The average weight is about 500–800 kg (1,100–1,800 lb) with the heaviest specimen ever recorded is 2,000 kilograms in captivity. The longest animal measured about 81 cm (32 in).
  • They have dark grey or brown colored horns.
  • In the wild Sumatran rhinos live up to 35 – 40 years while the captive rhino has a maximum lifespan of about 32 years.
  • They have poor eyesight but they are pretty quick and can climb mountains, riverbanks and slopes.
  • The thickness of the skin is 10–16 mm.

Distribution

  • The Sumatran rhino was once widespread across eastern India, Burma, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia, and Sabah.
  • Recent study suggests that the isolated population of Sumatran rhinos is still found in Burma.

Read More: What Do Rhinos Eat in the Wild?

sumatran rhino facts
Sumatran Rhino ©cincinnatizoo.org

Habitat

  • They fancy living in habitats like cloud forests, highland rainforests, lowland forests, as well as swamps.
  • Sumatran rhinos are likely to make homes in places near short water bodies such as steep upper valleys which are abundant in copious.

Behavior

  • Outside the breeding season, the Sumatran rhino is a solitary animal. Males are called bulls and they have a home range of 50 km2 (19 sq mi).
  • The home range of females is 10–15 km2 (3.9–5.8 sq mi).
  • They are highly territorial and are known to defend territories through fighting.
  • Sumatran rhinos are thought to eat either at dawn or at dusk. During this time they are most active.
  • When it rains, rhinos will move to the higher altitudes however during winter they return to the lowlands.
  • Humans are the only predators of Sumatran rhinos.
  • Scientists have found trails of Sumatran rhinos that go across rivers deeper than 1.5 m (5 ft).
  • Of all rhinoceros, Sumatran rhinos are the most vocal. They will produce calls such as eeps, whales, and whistle-blows.

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • Sumatran rhinos are thought to eat at dusk and in the morning. They are regular browsers and rhinos’ diet consists of twigs, shoots, saplings, fruits, and leaves.
  • They eat up to 50 kg (110 lb) a day.
  • Tree saplings make up most of the Sumatran rhino’s diet.
  • In the wild, plants species are not available in large numbers thus they must travel continuously to different locations. Prominent among plant species are Euphorbiaceae, Rubiaceae, and Melastomataceae.
  • They consume food which is rich in fiber but doesn’t offer too much protein.

Reproductive Biology

  • Male rhinos attain maturity at 10 year age while females become mature at the age of 6 – 7 years.
  • After a gestation period of about 15 – 16 months a single calf is born. The calf averages 40–60 kg (88–132 lb) in weight. It will stay with its mother in the first 2 – 3 years.
  • The birth interval is 3 – 4 years.
  • Sometimes adult males go very aggressive during courtship—so much so that they may even kill females.
  • There are around 250 Sumatran rhinos remaining in the wild and in captivity.

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered

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