The white rhino is one of the two rhino species found in Africa. Despite its name the White rhino is not actually white at all, its skin is grey in colour. There are many different theories as to where the term ‘white’ came from, but the most common one is that it is derived from the Afrikaans word for ‘wide’, describing the white rhinos wide mouth and upper lip. The white rhino is also known as the square lipped rhino.

The White rhino is a grazer and can often be found grazing on grass in the open plains. They need to feed on a daily basis but can survive for 4 to 5 days without water.

Populations of White rhino have recovered from an all time low of around 100 in 1895 to the current wild population of around 20,170. However, an increase in rhino poaching since 2008 is once again threatening the total population.

General white rhino facts:

Scientific Name:

Ceratotherium simum


Southern White rhino:

Ceratotherium simum simum

Northern White rhino:

Ceratotherium simum cottoni

Average Weight:

1,800 to 2,700 kg

Height at shoulder:

1.5 to 1.8 meters (5 to 6 ft)

Length (head & body):

3.8 to 5 meters (12.5 to 15 ft)

Front horn length:

94cm to 101cm (although it can reach up to 203cm)

Rear horn length:



Typically 35 to 40 years

Have been known to live up to 50 years in captivity


Up to 50km per hour (28mph)

Social Behaviour:

Females often live in a group, known as a ‘crash’.

Males are solitary, although will often be seen following a crash of females

IUCN conservation status:

Near Threatened




16 months

Birth intervals per calf:

2 to 3 years

Female sexual maturity:

6 to 7 years

Male sexual maturity:

7 to 10 years

Calves weaned:

1 year



Wild Population:

20,000 to 22,000


South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia and Uganda