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!
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.