Rhinoceros belong to the odd-toed ungulate family. The family comes from the order “Perissodactyla”. One or three hoofed mammals are included in the order and are called Perissodactyls. There are 5 living species of rhinoceroses and all of them have an odd number of toes on each foot.
Rhino feet are incredibly strong. So strong that they can run on their toes. The dactyls carry the rhino’s entire weight. It helps to balance the animal on uneven land.
The Ungulate Family
Ungulates are mammals that have hooves. Hooves are a changed form of toenails. It originally included both the even and odd-toed mammals. But some of the members don’t have hooves at all. Actually, the animals of the family are not always related. And there is no taxonomic significance whatsoever.
The Amazing Feet of Rhinoceros
Rhinoceroses have 4 legs. They look like tough stumps and are called “hooved feet”. On each foot, there are three separate toes. On each toe, there is a modified nail called a hoof. There is also soft padding that is evenly distributed underneath.
According to scientists, the pressure pads feel the maximum amount of pressure on the inside part of the paw. However, the size of the toes is smaller compared to the huge weight they need to carry.
Scientists are currently engaged in researching the legs of the rhinoceros and their various uses. Their claim is through the discoveries of the experiment they can build devices that can withstand immense weight while moving. The mechanism of the rhino hooves is still a mystery to humans.
How Many Toes Does a Rhinoceros Have on Each Foot?
All five species of Rhinos have three toes on each foot. But the anatomy of the dactyls and paddings are different from one another. This is perfectly understandable.
Because while the African rhinos roam through the grassy plains most of the time, the Asian rhinos are found on hills and inside rainforests. The Sumatran and Javan rhino come across the most uneven lands among the five species. As a result, their foundations are differently built for different conditions.
Identifying rhino footprints is rather easy. The other two giant hippos and elephants both have four toes whereas the rhinoceros has three. The largest toenail is the middle one and has 2 small nails on both its sides.
The white rhino footprints are like the letter “W”. There is however slight indentation on the back of the foot. But the black rhinoceros footprints are rounder than that of white rhino. Black rhino’s footprints also have a slight indentation.
The length of the outside edge of the hooves is 30 to 23 centimeters on the front leg. The rear feet are 25 to 20 centimeters in width.
A Running Rhino
Rhinoceros run on their toes. The soft padding under the hooves helps to carry the enormous weight. With the help of their strong feet, rhinos can run up to 50 kilometers per hour.
Rhinoceros has very tough four feet. There is an odd number (3) of claws on each of them. The padding underneath the foot helps to keep the balance of the whole body.
The feet are so strong that the rhino can run 35 mph or 50 kmph on its toes.
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