Rhinoceros is the second largest mammal on land just after elephants. Their huge size may act as an advantage of being immune to predator attacks. But don’t rhinos have predators? If so then what are they?
There actually are a few animals that would attack a rhino if in the right situation. In fact, it may sound as shocking as it appears that rhinoceroses can also be attacked by other herbivores.
Though carnivores tend not to attack animals of such volumes as to the horned mammoth, they sometimes consider changing their thoughts.
Humans also play a big role in the hunting equation. So let’s begin our journey in the wild right away.
6 reasons why Rhinos are attacked
Rhinoceroses like to roam singly or in small groups in the wild. They are not a very social bunch. Normally an alpha male holds his territory by winning in a fight with other males. They are extremely territorial & will go crazy if they feel their land is threatened.
Rhinoceroses can be attacked by both carnivores and herbivores in the wild. They may seem a peace-loving species but they can lose their minds at times. On top of that their poor eyesight can only add fuel to the fire.
There can be numerous reasons why a rhinoceros can be attacked by other wildlings. Here are 6 exclusive ones:
- Territorial behavior is the reason why they often fight with other herbivorous species.
- Food scarcity can lead several herbivorous species to fight one another. Often both the species who prefer the same grasses and greens can discover each other in a standoff.
- The giant beast can get attacked by carnivore herds. Because of their size, they can produce an unimaginable amount of meat for the groups of meat-eaters. This incident, however, is very much rare.
- Rhino calves can get easily attacked by meat-eaters. These calves can be very inquisitive at times. They may run away from their mother in a playful manner. But out there awaits the biggest threats of Africa with their teeth and claws.
- The horned giant can also face attacks while drinking water from a lake or a river. As they are in a very vulnerable position at that time, attacks can come from both the land and the water.
- Lastly, they are attacked by humans for their majestic horns.
5 killing machines that can attack a Rhinoceros
It is not uncommon to think that what are rhino predators? Not many animals in the wild would dare to attack a giant rock-like beast with a sword-like horn on its nose. Black rhinos have no natural predators.
No single carnivore on land can be enough to take down this mammoth creature. This is why carnivores are seen to attack as a group to defeat a single rhinoceros though this too is a rare incident.
On the other hand, rhinos don’t have only meat-eater enemies but also grass-eater ones. The 5 most ferocious animals of Africa can also be ferocious towards one another.
The elephant vs rhino rivalry is the real deal in the wild. The two biggest mammals collide with all their might. Competition for food is one of the main reasons why both herbivores come face to face in the first place. But rhinos have less chance of winning in this obviously unequal battle.
In most cases, rhinoceroses are killed by the over-enthusiastic young bull elephants. As a result, rhinos always have to be conscious of where they are grazing and what they are chewing.
Experts have discovered throughout the years that a rhino tends to eat grasses that elephants don’t prefer when both the species are at the same place. Again when elephants are absent, rhinos seem to munch on more diverse plants.
Though lions attacking rhinos in the wild is a rare incident, it is not impossible. A hungry group of lions is the last thing that the horned beast wants to face alone. With the amount of flesh that a rhinoceros carries with it no wonder why a lion pride would want to take it down.
Lions prefer to attack the calf of a rhino. The small baby can also provide enough food for the lions to fill up their tummies. No single lion would ever attack a rhinoceros. They are too smart for that. They always come as a group.
The rhino mother is often seen conscious about her baby when a lion pride is nearby. The babies don’t know the hostilities that Africa withholds yet. As a result of curiosity, many of these calves end up in the tummies of the biggest meat-eaters.
Hippos are the greatest killers of Africa with 500 human murders per year. That is the maximum for any animal of Africa. Compared to this rhinos are nothing with less than two human kills per year confirmed.
Hippos may look adorable but in truth, they are exclusively violent creatures. Though rhinoceroses are bigger and heavier, they can be massacred by an angry hippopotamus. Hippos attack most violently with their huge tusks.
Those sharp pointy edges can penetrate almost anything. Competition for food, territory, and rivers or lakes are the reasons why both species discover each other in a standoff.
The Nile crocodiles of Africa are one of the greatest killers with around 200 hundred humans being slain between their jaws per year. Babies are mostly to be attacked by Nile crocodiles. A thirsty calf is the most susceptible thing to predators in the water. The poor thing remains vulnerable through the whole process of quenching its thirst while there awaits an opportunistic croc nearby in the water.
But the Nile crocodile is also one of the few hunters that would take on an adult rhino on its own. It is easier for them to attack these mammoth creatures in a vulnerable position. They simply grab their prey and drag it down in the water and hold it until it chokes and dies with no air in the lung.
Hyenas are blood-thirsty killers. They attack as a clan. These opportunistic meat-eaters just won’t leave the herbivore alone if they have the chance. They tend to attack the babies or the injured.
Hyena clans are smart and attack the rhinoceros from behind. They are so fierce that they’d start eating up the herbivore alive. If the horned beast is alone in the wild, then may God save him because there isn’t much that an injured rhino can do against the crazy hyena gang.
The great horned beast is hunted mercilessly for its horns. Their horns have great value in the black market. Chinese ancient medicines are greatly dependent on these horns. Some people also believe these to be the cure for cancer and many tough diseases.
But in reality, rhino horns are not even horns. They are made of keratin which is the material of human nails and hair. So using rhino horn as a medication for cancer is equal to chewing on your hair or nails.
For such superstitions believed by ignorant people, rhinoceroses were hunted nearly to extinction. Humans have become the greatest enemies of these wildlings. The population of the beasts has been massacred by ignorant and money-hungry people.
Friends of a rhino
Among the ferocious wildlings, some animals help the rhino as well. The birds that eat the ticks of rhinoceros skin are great friends to them. They always warn the rhino if they feel any danger.
Monkeys also shout their voices out from upon trees to warn the rhinos if carnivores are seen around.
Do rhinos have predators is the most commonly asked question by wildlife enthusiasts. Rhinoceros do have their predators. So what are rhino predators then?
We talked about 5 of them in this article and they are elephants, lions, hippos, crocodiles, and hyenas. Besides these humans also kill these beasts for their horns to be used as medicine or handles of a dagger.