Amazing Indian Rhinoceroses
These rhinos are found in floodplain grasslands and adjacent swamps and woodland. Their diet comprises up to 90 per cent grass, depending on the season. Encroaching human activity and declining habitat has pushed Indian Rhinoceroses onto agricultural plantations, where they graze on crops.
Indian Rhinoceroses spend a lot of time submerged, with their massive bodies concealed and supported by the water. Wrinkles in their tough, warty skin create the appearance of armour plating. They are excellent swimmers and can also run surprisingly fast on land.
Adults are mostly solitary except for mothers caring for their calves. Females are pregnant for 16 months before giving birth to a single hornless calf. When two adult males meet they may fight for dominance using their tusk-like lower teeth, sometimes to the death.
Traditional Chinese medicine considers that rhinoceros horn has valuable medical properties. As a result, poachers can receive high prices for a horn. Hunting Indian Rhinoceroses for sport was popular among Europeans in the 1800s and 1900s and dramatically reduced their numbers. Rhinos reproduce slowly, so it takes a long time for populations to recover. A dedicated protection program since the 1900s has allowed Indian Rhinoceros numbers to recover from near-extinction.