Beast

One of my favorite animals in the world is the rhinoceros.  I love rhinos!  If I were going to be an animal, I’d like to be either a rhino, a Bengal tiger or an orca.  I guess it wouldn’t be too bad if I were an eagle, too.

I love to see rhinos.  I had hoped when I went to Africa in April and May of this year that I’d see some wildlife – especially rhinos.  Alas, I was in Ghana and they ate all the large animals some number of years ago.  I was terribly disappointed, but made friends with some people from Kenya who invited me to come and see animals there if I get a chance.  I hope I do!

I am not sure why I like rhinos so much, but I suspect is has something to do with their great power.  Rhinos can grow to over 6 feet tall and more than 11 feet in length.  The white rhino species can weigh 5000-8000 lbs. The Sumatran rhino is the smallest in the rhino species weighing between 1300-1500 lbs. Their horns are made of keratin (a hairlike substance). The longest known horn on a black rhino was 4 feet 9 inches long, but they average about 20 inches in length.  The rhino has skin that is very sensitive to the sun and that’s why you usually see rhinos covered in mud.  It also helps prevent them from being bitten by insects (of which there are plenty in Africa!)

Because of their great size, aggressiveness and power, they have no real natural enemies except for humans with guns.  They have terrible eyesight and are quick to charge at whatever they see, including trucks.  Black rhinos fight with each other and have the highest rate of death among mammals in fights among the same species. Fifty percent of males and 30% of females die from these intra-species fights.

Curiously, black rhinos run on their toes and in spite of their huge size, can run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.  Black rhinos can live up to five days without water, and white rhinos (which are usually slightly larger than black rhinos) can live for 45 years.

The rhino’s closest relatives are more likely to be horses than hippos because it is an ungulate.  The black rhino’s prehensile upper lip can not only pick a small leaf from a twig but can open gates and vehicle doors.

I took this picture of a rhino at Animal Kingdom on the safari ride in Orlando, Florida.  If you look closely, you can see the hair on this beast’s ears!  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not meet one of these creatures in a dark alley!

_MG_5164ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1820 the great pioneering frontiersman Daniel Boone died quietly in his sleep at his son’s home near present-day Defiance, Missouri.  He was 86.Boone was born in 1734 to Quaker parents living in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Following a squabble with the Pennsylvania Quakers, Boone’s family decided to head south and west for less crowded regions, and they eventually settled in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. There the young Daniel Boone began his life-long love for wilderness, spending long days exploring the still relatively unspoiled forests and mountains of the region. An indifferent student who never learned to write more than a crude sentence or two, Boone’s passion was for the outdoors, and he quickly became a superb marksman, hunter and woodsman.

Never satisfied to stay put for very long, Boone soon began making ever longer and more ambitious journeys into the relatively unexplored lands to the west.

Made a legend in his own time by John Filson’s “Boone Autobiography” and Lord Byron’s depiction of him as the quintessential frontiersman in the book Don Juan, Boone became a symbol of the western pioneering spirit for many Americans. Ironically, though, Boone’s fame and his success in opening the Trans-Appalachian West to large-scale settlement later came to haunt him. Having lost his Kentucky land holdings by failing to properly register them, Boone moved even further west in 1799, trying to escape the civilized regions he had been so instrumental in creating. Finally settling in Missouri–though he never stopped dreaming of continuing westward–he lived out the rest of his life doing what he loved best: hunting and trapping in a fertile wild land still largely untouched by the Anglo pioneers who had followed the path he blazed to the West.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial (pouched mammal) indigenous to North America. They will play dead when threatened, and contrary to folklore, do not sleep hanging by their tails. They have a litter size of up to 22, but only a maximum of 13 offspring live. Their babies stay in the pouch for the first 60 days.

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2 thoughts on “Beast”

  1. I love the photo and details of the rhino. But in the opossum trivia, the explanation of the number 13 is the most fascinating part of all. The offspring are born outside the pouch. Inside the pouch there are 13 nipples (13 is a value in the Fibonacci series which occurs often in nature for unclear reasons: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 where each value is the sum of the previous two). Although as many as 22 babies are born, only the first 13 to crawl blindly up the mother’s abdomen and down into the pouch to find an available nipple survive – survival of the fittest reinforced in each generation at birth! Amazing!

    1. Fascinating, Joe! I didn’t know that about opossums! I love trivia like that…stuff about the world, etc. Endlessly fascinating!!!! Hope you have a good day, and thank you!

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