Found in the floodplain grasslands and woodlands of India and Nepal, these enormous creatures can weigh up to 6,000 pounds but are surprisingly swift and nimble. The Indian Rhinoceros can charge at speeds of 25 mph. Though possessing poor eyesight, the Indian Rhino (like other rhino species) has sharp hearing and a keen sense of smell. These solitary animals are semi-aquatic and will commonly wallow or submerge itself in water to avoid the heat and biting insects. Despite their thick skin and tough appearance, Rhinos are highly susceptible to sunburns and insect bites. Also known as the Greater One-Horned Rhino, it’s scientific name is Rhinoceros unicornis.
The Rhinoceros horn is not a bone but is made of keratin – the same protein that makes up human hair and fingernails. Unfortunately it is this distinguishing feature that has led all rhino species close to extinction. Rhinos are often killed solely for their horn which is sold on the black market for use in traditional folk medicine, even though it holds no medicinal properties. The Indian Rhino was almost extinct in the 20th Century with fewer than 200 individuals remaining. Today there are as many as 3,550 surviving thanks to strict protection from Indian and Nepalese wildlife authorities.