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Sumatran Rhinoceros Fact File

Appearance

The Sumatran rhinoceros is the smallest rhinoceros species though they still measure between 2.5 and 3.2m (8.25-10ft) long. Their weight is up to 800kg (1,760lbs). At the shoulder they stand 1.2-1.45m (3.4-4.8ft) tall.

They are the hairiest rhino species though this is still just a thin covering. Sumatran rhinoceros have few skin wrinkles with most of them being around the neck. The skin is colored reddish-brown in color.

On each foot of the Sumatran rhino are three toes which make it easier to grip on to slippery ground.

Located at the rear of a Sumatran rhino is the tail which ends with a tuft of fur.

At the front of the head each rhino has two horns with the front horn being longer than the back. Each horn is formed from keratin which is the same substance which makes up human hair and fingernails. The front horn is 15-25cm (5.9-9.8in) long. Horns are colored dark grey or black. The horn can re-grow if it is broken.

Diet

Sumatran rhinoceros are herbivores who primarily browse for food. They feed on a range of fruit, twigs, leaves and shrubs. Saplings will be felled by the rhino to reach the tender shoots. Over 100 plant species are part of their diet.

Every couple of weeks they visit salt licks where they can obtain additional salt to supplement their diet.

Each Sumatran rhinoceros will feed on between 50 and 60kg(110-132lbs) of food each day.

sumatran rhinoceros

Scientific Name

Dicerorhinus sumatrensis

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered

Weight

800kg (1,760lbs)

Length

2.5-3.2m (8.25-10ft)

Height

1.2-1.45m (3.4-4.8ft)

Lifespan

35-40 years

Diet

Herbivorous

Range

Asia is the native home of the Sumatran rhinoceros. Here the only remaining population is found in Indonesia though a small population may occur in Myanmar.

The species was formerly widespread across Asia but is now extinct in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Habitat

They make their home in tropical rainforest and montane moss forests. Isolated reports exist of them from coastal swamps and even in the ocean. Most of their range is across mountain slopes near a source of water.

Sumatran rhinos show a preference for secondary forests as the young shoots they prefer are most abundant in this area.

sumatran rhinoceros

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Reproduction

Sumatran rhinoceros calves are born from October to May during the periods of heaviest rainfall. Pairs will only come together for mating.

Following a successful mating it will be 12-16 months before the mother gives birth to a single calf. This calf is initially hidden in dense vegetation while the mother feeds. Calves have short, black fur at birth.

After two months it will begin to join its mother while moving through the forest.

They will suckle for up to 15 months.

Mothers are protective of their young. If they detect a threat they will spray it with feces and urine to distract the threat while the calf escapes.

Sexual maturity is reached between 7 and 8 years old.

Behavior

Sumatran rhinoceros exhibit some seasonal movements through their territory depending on environmental conditions. When the lowlands flood they move up the hillside before descending for the dry season. They will move back up the hill during summer to escape houseflies.

They make trails through the forest which are marked out using feces, urine and scrapes of soil.

These animals are solitary and they create a home territory which is defended against intruders. Individuals only come together to mate. The males territory is larger than that of a female.

Sumatran rhinoceros are considered to be the most vocal rhino species. Their vocalizations include whistling and whining noises.

To protect their skin the Sumatran rhinoceros will roll in mud which sticks to the skin. This helps cool them and protects against insects.

Most of their travel takes place at night.

sumatran rhinoceros

Predators and Threats

Adults have few predators though young can be taken by tigers and wild dogs.

Less than 100 Sumatran rhinoceros remain in the wild. Their low population is threatening their population due to limited genetic diversity. Habitat disturbance also threatens them.

Humans have reduced their population due to hunting for their horn. While they have one of the smallest horns of any rhino it is believed that this makes them more potent and thus more desirable.

The remaining populations of the Sumatran rhinoceros exist in protected reserves where anti-poaching patrols protect them.

Quick facts

They are the world’s most endangered rhino.

Sumatran rhinoceros are sometimes called the hairy rhino and are the closest living relative of the extinct wooly rhino.

They are also called the Asian two-horned rhinoceros as they are the only rhinoceros with two horns in Asia.

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Photo Credits

Top

By Alan, user wAlanb on Flickr - Foto World famous Sumatran Rhino "Emi" introduces her unprecedented third calf, 19 day old "Harapan", a male do Flickr,, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5753291

Middle

By Charles W. Hardin - Photo Sumatran Rhinos: "Emi" and 14 month old son "Harapan" from Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5757417


Bottom

By 26Isabella - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31167009

References

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK


Tran, N. 2000. "Dicerorhinus sumatrensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 20, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Dicerorhinus_sumatrensis/

Ellis, S. & Talukdar, B. 2020. Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T6553A18493355. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T6553A18493355.en. Downloaded on 20 September 2020.

EDGE of Existence. 2020. Sumatran Rhinoceros | EDGE Of Existence. [online] Available at: <http://www.edgeofexistence.org/species/sumatran-rhinoceros/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].

International Rhino Foundation. 2020. Sumatran Rhino. [online] Available at: <https://rhinos.org/species/sumatran-rhino/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].

National Geographic. 2020. Sumatran Rhinoceros. [online] Available at: <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/s/sumatran-rhinoceros/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].

Save The Rhino. 2020. Sumatran Rhino | Species | Save The Rhino International. [online] Available at: <https://www.savetherhino.org/rhino-info/rhino-species/sumatran-rhino/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].

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