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GROUP 1: MAMMALS
GENUS &- SPECIES
The zorilla is a small mammal that is widespread throughout much
of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. It is related to the weasel
and is also known as the African, or striped, polecat.
Height: 4-5 in.
Length: Body, 12-15 in. Tail,
Weight: Male, over 3 lb.
Female, 2 lb.
Sexual maturity: About 1 year.
Mating: Spring to summer.
Gestation: About 5 weeks.
No. of young: 1-3.
Habit: Solitary nighttime hunter.
Diet: Small mammals, particularly
rodents. Birds and their eggs, large
insects, and reptiles including
lizards and snakes.
Lifespan: Unknown in the wild. Up
to 1 3 years in captivity.
zorilla is related to the Europe-
an polecat, Mustela putorius, and
the marbled polecat, Vormela
FEATURES OF THE ZORILLA
Two glands near the
anus contain a foul-
smelling fluid that the zorilla
sprays at a predator's face
to cause temporary blindness.
© MCMXCI IMP RV/IMP INr. WII 01 IFF FAr.T FII PM
Range of the zorilla.
The zorilla is common in open country, grassland, and low
mountain ranges in Africa south of the Sahara.
The zorilla is widespread throughout its range. It adapts easily
to many habitats, including those near human habitation. It is
not yet in need of protection.
I Long and silky above, shorter
below. Tai l is long and bushy. Four
white stripes contrast with narrower
black bands from the nape down the
length of the upper body. White cheek
flashes and forehead spot. Black belly,
legs, and paws.
and smell are
very sharp. Eyes
are small but
give good night-
time vision for
hunting prey. •
_. ---<:. _ Claws: Long and
PRINTFn IN II q A
- strong, enabling
zorilla to dig
its own burrow
()11:()?()()A71 DlI('VI=T A7
The zorilla looks very similar to its distant relative
the American striped skunk. The two species also have
many habits in common. Both hunt rodent prey at
night and depend on their boldly patterned coats to
deter enemies. In times of real danger the zorilla,
like the skunk, lifts its tail and squirts a foul-smelling
fluid that temporarily blinds its attacker.
~ H A B I T S
The zorilla is usually solitary. It is
active at dusk and at night when
it searches its territory for prey.
The zorilla uses its long claws
to dig its own burrow in soft
ground. On harder ground it
takes over an abandoned bur-
row or hides under a barn.
The zorilla is territorial, and a
male may have a territory of a
square mile or more, which he
marks with anal gland secre-
tions. Males often fight to pro-
tect their territories, particularly
in the mating season. Females
have their own, smaller home
ranges, which may overlap
those of other zorillas.
The zorilla moves slowly, rely-
ing for protection on its distinc-
tive coat, which serves to warn
predators of something unpleas-
ant. When surprised by a large
animal such as a lion, the zorilla
may play dead.
When cornered, the zorilla
raises the hairs on its back and
turns its rear end toward the
aggressor. If further provoked,
it stiffens its tail and sprays the
attacker with a foul-smelling
fluid from two anal glands. It
aims toward the eyes and is
usually accurate, even up to
13 feet. The fluid can blind
another animal long enough
for the zorilla to run away.
Right: The zorilla raises its tail to
warn predators that it will spray if
it is attacked.
~ FOOD & HUNTING
The zorilla preys on lizards,
frogs, snakes, birds, and small
mammals. It devours them in
chunks, almost without chew-
ing. It also eats eggs, earth-
worms, and insects. When
hunting burrowing rodents
like mole rats, the zorilla fol-
lows them underground and
traps them in their burrows.
Left: The zorilla moves with a
slightly hunched gait as it seeks
its prey at night.
DID YOU KNOW?
• If food is scarce, the zorilla
will eat prey killed by other ani-
mals. One zorilla kept several
lions away from a dead zebra
it was eating by raising its tail
and threatening to spray.
• The zorilla's vision is better
at night than during the day.
• If tamed when young, a zor-
When it lives near human set-
tlements, the zorilla may prey
on poultry, but it is usually tol-
erated because it keeps down
harmful rodent populations.
Like the wolverine and other
members of the family Musteli-
doe, the zorilla often kills more
than it can eat and hides the
surplus for future use.
Right: The zorilla's broad diet in-
cludes rodents, birds, reptiles, and
ilia can be a gentle pet. A pet
zorilla will spray only when it is
• In the Sudan the zorilla is
called by a name that means
"father of stinks."
• The zorilla can swim short
distances or climb after prey
The zorilla's mating season be-
gins in March and probably
lasts through summer. There is
usually only one litter. The male
leaves his territory during this
time and travels long distances
in search of a mate.
The female makes a nest of
threatened by a
as a big cat or
a jackal, the
down and pre-
tend to be
dead. It runs
away to safety
when the dan-
ger has passed.
dry grass and leaves in her bur-
row and gives birth to one to
three young about five weeks
after mating. She guards them
carefully and rarely leaves the
nest for the first few days after
they are born.
The female suckles her litter
for about a month and brings
the young small pieces of meat
before they are weaned. After
weaning, the young follow the
female out of the nest and in-
vestigate their surroundings,
quickly learning to play, explore,
and hunt. They are soon well
developed enough to be able
to fend for themselves.
Left: The zorilla has exceptional
senses of smell and hearing.
'" CARD 192 I
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Mountain viscachas are small rodents that look like long-tailed
rabbits. They start the day by sunbathing on a well-positioned rock
and carefully grooming their luxuriant fur.
Length: Head and body, 12-18 in.
Tail, 8-16 in.
Weight: 2-6 lb.
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Mating season: October and
Gestation: 17-20 weeks.
No. of young: 1 per season. If this
offspring dies, the viscacha may
breed and give birth a second time.
Habit: Sociable; lives in colonies.
lifespan: Approximately 3 years in
The 4 species of mountain viscacha
are Lagidium viscacia, L. peruanum,
L. wolff sohni, and L. boxi. The family
Chinchillidae also includes the
chinchilla and the plains viscacha.
Range of mountain viscachas.
Found in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. All four species of
mountain viscachas live on the slopes of the Andes at elevations
of 650 to 20,000 feet.
Mountain viscachas seem to be flourishing. Although their coat
is dense and fine, it has no commercial value, so these animals
have not been widely trapped.
FEATURES OF MOUNTAIN VISCACHAS
Ears: Large with rounded tips.
Completely covered with fur. Provide
pads allow a
good grip on
rocks. Stiff bris-
tles on soles
are used to
Tail: Long and
up toward a
black or red-
when the vis-
Coat: Very thick and soft,
except on the upper part of the
tail, where the fur is coarse.
Color varies according to the elevation
at which the animal lives. Usually it is dark
gray to chocolate brown on the upper parts and
white, light gray, or yellow on the underparts.
The fur has no guard hairs and therefore
offers no protection from heavy rain.
Mountain viscachas live on remote slopes high
in the Andes Mountains in South America. Usually they
establish their dens among the rocks and boulders.
These small, furry animals are well adapted to the harsh
Andean climate. Their dense coats keep them warm,
and they conserve energy by spending half the day
sitting on rocks, basking in the sun.
Mountain viscachas live in the
Andes Mountains of Peru, Bo-
livia, Chile, and Argentina. Their
soft, thick fur coats enable these
small creatures to live at high
elevations, where temperatures
often drop below freezing at
night. Cold air is trapped in the
dense fur and warmed by the
animal's body heat. If the tem-
perature goes up, the hairs are
raised to allow the warmed air
Viscachas live in colonies that
vary from a few animals to a
hundred, depending on how
much food is available. They
can burrow only where the soil
is soft, so they often make their
dens in rockfalls or crevices.
This small, rabbitlike creature
begins its day by sunbathing
on a rock. Small groups often
share a rocky outcrop. They sit
on their haunches, soaking up
the sun, and groom their fur.
A mountain viscacha may
sometimes fall victim to birds
of prey or foxes. But its speed
and agility usually enable it to
escape. If a member of a colo-
ny senses danger, it utters a
series of high-pitched, mourn-
ful cries. This call alerts the oth-
er animals, which rapidly hop
away across the rocks.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
Mountain viscachas leave their
rocky perches to feed in late
afternoon. They eat mostly
coarse grass, moss, and lichen.
But because they live in a bar-
ren environment, viscachas
will eat just about anything
that they can find.
The grasses and lichens that
make up the bulk of the vis-
cachas' diet contain few nutri-
ents. This problem is common
Left: A mountain viscacha spends
much of the day sunning and
grooming itself on a rock.
DID YOU KNOW?
• When alarmed, mountain
viscachas bound from rock to
rock, often clearing over six
feet in one leap.
• In Patagonia, mountain
viscachas are known as rock
squirrels because of their
• When angry, a viscacha
among animals that live only
on vegetable matter. Some ani-
mals solve it by eating large
amounts of food. Others digest
the plant matter several times
in different stomachs. Moun-
tain viscachas solve the prob-
lem by chewing very slowly,
eating one blade of grass at a
time, to ensure that they ex-
tract every bit of nourishment
from the tough vegetation.
Right: Although viscachas look like
rabbits, the two animals are not
often drums its tail and feet
on the ground.
• The mountain viscacha's fur
used to be spun with wool to
• Its thick fur does not pro-
tect a viscacha against heavy
rain. If it gets too wet, it can
freeze to death.
~ BREEDI NG
Mountain viscachas usually
breed in October and Novem-
ber. But the breeding season
may vary depending on the
availability of food.
Viscachas are not territorial
and rarely come into conflict
with other members of the
colony. During the breeding
season there may be an occa-
sional outbreak of aggression
between rival males, but this
is usually limited to the baring
of teeth, accompanied by an
assortment of threatening calls.
Left: With their padded paws,
mountain viscachas are well
equipped for a rocky habitat.
Left: The fe-
gives birth to a
The offspring is
born with a full
coat of fur. It
suckles from its
mother for sev-
eral weeks, but
it con also eat
A single young is born after a
gestation of 1 7 to 20 weeks. If
it dies, a second offspring may
be produced. Although the
newborn viscacha is suckled by
its mother for several weeks, it
is able to eat solid food from
the day it is born.
Many mammals lie down to
feed their young, but moun-
tain viscachas stand. The moth-
er's nipple is located high on
her chest, so the easiest way to
suckle is for both mother and
young to stand on their hind
legs. The young viscacha devel-
ops quickly and becomes sexu-
ally mature after a year.
"," CARD 193 I
GENUS & SPECIES
zebra is found only in isolated areas of eastern Africa.
Because the vegetation is dry and sparse, herds have to roam over
large areas in order to find enough to eat.
Height to shoulder: ft .
Length: 9 ft. Tail, 20 in.
Weight: Almost 900 lb.
Sexual maturity: 1 year, but female
rarely breeds before 2 or 3 years,
and male 5 or 6 years.
Breeding season: May to August.
Gestation: About 1 year.
No. of young: 1.
Habit: Females and young males
each form loose herds. Mature stal-
lions are solitary.
Diet: Mainly grass, some foliage.
Call: Brays like a mule.
Lifespan: Over 20 years in captivity.
The 7 Equus species include the 2
other zebras: Burchell's (or plains)
zebra, E. burchelli, and the mountain
zebra, E. zebra.
Range of Grevy's zebra.
Found in scrubland in Somalia, north of the Tana River in Kenya,
and east of the Omo River to Lake Zwai in Ethiopia.
Grevy's zebra has been hunted excessively for its hide and is
now an endangered species. It is thought that there are only
three isolated populations in the wild, numbering 10,000 to
15,000 animals in all .
FEATURES OF GREVY'S ZEBRA
BURCHELL'S ZEBRA AND
Mane: Thick and Hide: White striped with dark brown
erect along the or black. Narrow, close-set st ripes are
neck to the shoul- verti cal over the body, horizontal over
ders. The body the haunches. Bell y is solid white.
to the hoof.
into the hairs of
Tail : 20 inches
long. Tuft of hair
at tip is shorter
than in other Burchell 's zebra: Has broader
stripes and a shorter mane. The
head is short and broad with
smaller ears and a black muzzle.
Grevy's zebra: Long head . Broad
forehead tapering to a narrow
brown muzzle. Large rounded ears
have black rim and white tip.
Like Burchell's zebra and the mountain zebra,
Grevy's zebra has a striped coat. It differs from its
relatives in its habits, however. It is less social and lives
in smaller, often temporary groups. All species of zebra
are closely related to the horse and the ass. With its
narrow head and large ears, Grevy's zebra resembles
the mule. It even has a similar braying call.
Grevy's zebra inhabits arid,
sparsely wooded plains and
lowlands in Ethiopia, Somalia,
and northern Kenya.
The social behavior of this ze-
bra differs from that of other
species. Although the zebra is a
herd animal, a Grevy's stallion
establishes a territory of one
to four square miles, which he
marks with dung. As he patrols
the boundaries, he makes a
braying sound quite unlike the
barking call of Burchell's zebra.
Mares and their young form
temporary groups but do not
live in permanent herds like
other zebras. The groups graze
within a male's territory, and
the mares may mate with him.
Other stallions are tolerated in
the territory as long as they do
not attempt to mate. If they do,
they are attacked and driven off
by the resident stallion. Young
males usually form loose bache-
lor herds until they establish ter-
ritories of their own.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
Grevy's zebra grazes on the
scrubby grass of its arid habi-
tat. It supplements this diet by
browsing-picking leaves and
shoots from bushes.
After rainy spells, when food
is more available, Grevy's ze-
bras often come together to
feed. Although this gathering
looks like a large herd, each
animal or small group retains
its own identity. In the large
group there may be Burchell's
zebras, as well as ostriches and
antelopes. The animals benefit
from one another's presence.
Left: Groups of Grevy's zebras
usually stay together for only a
DID YOU KNOW?
• The male zebra has pointed
canine teeth, a feature that
is usually found only among
flesh-eating animals. It uses
its teeth when it fights with
. • The dung heaps that mark
the territory of a Grevy's stal-
lion may be 16 inches high
The ostrich's keen eyesight, for
example, complements the ze-
bra's sense of smell. Together,
the animals can more quickly
detect a predator such as a
lioness. At the slightest sign of
danger, the whole group takes
off over the plains.
Most zebras drink daily if
possible. Grevy's zebra is less
dependent than Burchell's ze-
bra on a regular water supply.
During a long drought, how-
ever, a Grevy's stallion will
cover a long distance each
day to find food and water.
Right: Because the quality of the
vegetation is poor, the zebras have
to graze a large area.
and several feet square.
• Grevy's zebra was proba-
bly the hippotigris, or "horse
tiger," used in the circuses of
• Grevy's zebra often trots or
gallops over the grasslands,
reaching speeds of up to 35
miles per hour.
During the breeding season,
from May to August, a Grevy's
stallion mates with the mares
in his territory. Because gesta-
tion lasts just over a year, mat-
ing and birth occur at about
the same time of year. The fe-
male comes into heat seven to
10 days after giving birth but
generally breeds only every
two or three years.
Left: The mane of the young
Grevys zebra extends along the
length of its back.
Left: The coat
of Grevy's ze-
bra has n a r r o ~
stripes and is
For this reason,
A single foal is born, measur-
ing almost three feet and weigh-
ing about 65 pounds. It staggers
to its feet within an hour. After
a few weeks the foal begins to
graze, but it is not weaned un-
til it is 8 to 12 months old. The
females and their offspring usu-
ally form groups, but the adults
often wander off to feed, leav-
ing their young at the mercy of
predators such as lions or hye-
nas. The males form bachelor
herds at two to three years.
", CARD 194 l
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~ ORDER ~
~ Artiodactyla ~
GENUS &: SPECIES
The sika deer originated in eastern Asia, where it is now in danger
of extinction. Fortunately, it has been introduced in Europe, New
Zealand, and the United States, where its numbers are growing.
- - - - - - - - ~ . - - - - - - -
length: Stag, 5 ft. Hind, 4 ~ ft.
Height to shoulder: Stag, 32 in.
Hind, 29 in.
Weight: Stag, 140 lb. Hind, 90 lb.
Sexual maturity: Hind, usually
Mating: September to October.
Gestation: About 8 months.
No. of young: Usually 1.
Weaning period: 8-10 months.
Habit: Stags live singly or in small
groups. Hinds live in family groups.
Diet: Grasses, leaves, fruit, nuts.
Call: Alarm call is a short whistle.
Rutting stag whistles and shrieks.
lifespan: 1 5 years or more.
The sika deer is related to the red
deer of Europe and the wapati of
FEATURES OF THE SIKA DEER
Coat: In summer, yellowish brown with
white spots on the side of the body. This
provides camouflage when the deer is
feeding in patches of light among trees. In
winter, when there is less vegetation, the
coat becomes gray-brown, and the spots
are less obvious.
Hind (female): Smaller
than the stag. Spends
most of the year breed-
ing and caring for young.
Tail: Short, black and white. White ring on rump
around base of tail is edged with black. Tail is held
erect when animal is alarmed.
(C) Mr.MXr.1I IMP RV/ IMP INr. WII nl IFF FAr.T FII P M
Range of the sika deer.
Found on many of the Japanese islands and in Vietnam, Taiwan,
Korea, northeast and southeast China, and Manchuria. Intro-
duced widely in Europe, New Zealand, and the United States.
The sika deer is endangered in parts of its range as a result of
hunting and the loss of its habitat to agriculture.
PRINTFn IN II ~ A
Stag (male): The shedding of the
stag's antlers follows a seasonal pat-
tern. It takes 4 months for antlers to
be shed and a new pair grown.
Hock gland: Located above the ankle.
Produces a strong-smelling secretion
that is rubbed on low branches and
shrubs to mark a territory.
In its Asian homeland the sika deer lives mainly
in wooded foothills, where it is often found close to
rivers. It also inhabits coastal flatlands. These areas
are in demand for agriculture, however. For this reason,
and because both the meat and the antlers of the
sika deer can be sold, this species has been hunted
extensively and is now on the verge of extinction.
Like other deer, the sika relies
first on its hearing to alert it
to danger. When it hears an
unfamiliar noise, it raises its
head toward the source of the
sound. Its nose twitches as it
makes use of its keen sense of
smell, and it employs its sharp
eyesight to detect any unfa-
Faced with danger, the sika
trots or gallops away. It may
also use a stiff-legged, bound-
ing movement called pranking,
which takes it high into the air
and forward. This movement
reduces the number of places
where the deer leaves scent on
the ground, making the deer
harder to follow.
The sika deer has a promi-
nent tuft of hair on the outer
side of the bone above the an-
kle. Skin glands located there
produce a strong-smelling
secretion that the deer rubs
on low-lying branches, shrubs,
and grasses to define a territo-
ry. The scent also tells a stag
(male) whether a hind (fe-
male) is ready to mate.
Right: The Formosan, or Taiwan,
sika probably became extinct in the
wild in 1969.
During the rutting (mating)
season, in fall, a stag feeds very
little and can lose up to one-
third of his weight. He marks
out and defends a territory
in which he has one or more
rutting stands (special sites to
which he attracts the hinds) .
He draws the hinds to him with
a series of three or four long,
high-pitched whistles inter-
spersed with short whistles,
sometimes ending with a roar.
After mating, the stag has no
Left: The sika stag abandons the
family group soon after the calf
DID YOU KNOW?
• A sika stag grows his antlers
in summer so they will be
hard by the mating season
in fall. It takes about four
months for the antlers to
grow to the point where the
velvet, or protective skin, can
be removed. The antlers are
shed in late winter or spring.
involvement with the young.
Just before the calf is due to be
born, the female leaves her nor-
mal range and group to give
The calf remains hidden in
undergrowth for the first three
weeks of its life, while the moth-
er feeds nearby, returning peri-
odically to nurse. Once the calf
can walk and run, it accompa-
nies its mother and will usually
remain by her side until she
calves again the following year.
Right: The vulnerable calf spends
its first few weeks concealed in deep
• Although many deer can
clear heights of more than six
and a half feet, most will go
under or through an obstacle
rather than over it.
• The sika's coat molts twice
a year. In summer the coat is a
white-spotted chestnut, and
in fall it becomes gray-brown.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
The sika deer grazes on leaves,
shoots, buds, grass, and low-
growing herbs. It also eats fruit,
fungi, and nuts.
In summer, when a stag is
growing antlers and a hind is
feeding her calf, the deer take
advantage of the extra food
supplies. In winter, when food
is scarce, they may strip nutri-
tious bark from tree branches.
As is the case with many deer,
the sika's appetite decreases in
winter, ensuring that the energy
it uses searching for food does
not exceed the energy it gets
from eating what is available.
Left: A sika
deer uses its
keen sense of
It runs away
off the ground
to avoid leav-
ing a heavy
scent trail that
It is partially sustained by the
stores of fat that it has built up
during the summer.
A sika hind lives in a small fami-
ly group. When feeding at night,
this group joins with others to
form a larger herd of hinds.
The sika collects food during
the day in areas where there is
some cover and moves to open
ground only at dusk. After feed-
ing quickly, it finds a safe place
to chew its cud-a process in
which the food is brought back
up into the sika's mouth to be
chewed again before it is swal-
lowed and digested.
" CARD 195 I
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... GENUS & SPECIES
'11IIIIIIII Axis axis
The axis deer is also known as the spotted deer or chital. It can
be easily identified by the distinctive rows of white spots
that mark its reddish brown coat.
Height to shoulder: 2-3 ft. Female
smaller than male .
Antlers: About 2y'; ft . long.
Weight: 100-200 lb.
Sexual maturity: Female, 1 year.
Male, 4 years or more.
Breeding: All year.
Gestation: 8-8y'; months.
No. of young: Usually 1; twins
Habit: Sociable. Lives in large herds
of 2 or 3 mature males with many
females and young.
Diet: Mainly grass; also leaves,
shoots, fruit, and flowers.
The axis deer has 2 close relatives:
the hog deer, Axis porcinus, and the
Bawean, or Kuhl's, deer, A. kuhN.
Range of the axis deer.
Found in woodlands, forests, and clearings near streams and
rivers throughout Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka. Also introduced
The axis deer is widespread throughout its range. It appears to be
in no danger because the species reproduces very successfully.
THE AXIS DEER'S COAT AND ANTLERS
Male: Has slender 6-pointed
antlers that curve backward and out-
ward into a lyre shape. A furry cover-
ing called velvet carries blood to the
antlers while they are growing. The
velvet then dries up, and the deer
removes it by rubbing his antlers
against tree trunks and bushes.
Coat: Rich red-brown with rows of
white spots that provide excellent
camouflage in dappled forest light.
Pale neck and underparts.
smaller than the
male and does
not have antlers.
It is the male's
Young: Has the same spotted coat as
the adults. Male takes about 4 years to
produce full-grown antlers.
The axis deer is a highly sociable animal that lives in
large herds for most of the year. This graceful creature
is found in forests and clearings near streams and rivers
in India, Nepal, 5ri Lanka, and Australia. It is also often
seen close to vii/ages. Unlike most other species of deer,
the adult male can shed and regrow his slender
branched antlers at any time of the year.
~ H A B I T S
The axis deer lives in large herds
that can total more than 100
individuals. The herd contains
mostly females and young and
just two or three males. Axis
deer tolerate other ungulates
(hooved mammals) and can be
seen feeding with blackbuck
and swamp deer.
The axis deer is easily star-
tled. Its keen senses of hear-
ing, smell, and sight help it
detect danger. When a preda-
tor approaches, the deer re-
acts quickly and flees. It often
takes refuge in a river and
swims to safety on the oppo-
The axis deer is preyed upon
by tigers, leopards, and croc-
odiles. It has been hunted by
people almost to extinction
in some areas. In other places
it flourishes, partly because it
Right: The deer's diet varies with
the season and with the particular
area it inhabits.
Mating, or rutting, takes place
mainly in winter but can occur
anytime. When the female is
receptive, the normally shy
male becomes aggressive and
keeps other males away from
the female. A harsh bellow is
the call to combat, which can
turn into a fierce battle with
the antlers used as weapons.
After mating, the male leaves
the female alone.
After a gestation of eight to
eight and a half months, the
female gives birth to a single
fawn. On rare occasions she
Left: Always alert to danger, the
axis deer flees at the sight or smell
of an intruder.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Unlike some species of
deer, which show seasonal
changes, the axis deer has
the same color coat all year.
• Like all deer except the
reindeer, the axis deer has a
small bare patch of skin on
• Axis deer vary in size,
may produce twins. The fawn
has the same spotted red-
brown coat as the adults.
Although it can walk after
birth, the fawn stays hidden in
dense vegetation. It is guarded
by the female until it is strong
enough to follow her back to
the herd. The fawn is suckled
for six or seven weeks and re-
mains with its mother in the
herd for one or two years. Fe-
male axis deer are sexually
mature at about one year old.
Males cannot breed until they
are overfour years old.
Right: The male axis deer is unable
to breed until it grows its first full
set of antlers.
depending on their location.
The deer living in northern
and central India are 10 to
14 inches taller than those
in the south.
• The axis deer has been
known to interbreed with
the hog deer-the species
most closely related to it.
~ FOOD &: FEEDING
The axis deer feeds in the early
morning and evening and rests
in a shady place during the heat
of the day. It feeds on grass and
the young shoots and leaves of
shrubs and trees. It also eats
flowers and fruit.
Like other species of deer, the
axis deer is a ruminant-it chews
its food only briefly before swal-
lowing. The food is partially di-
gested and then regurgitated to
be chewed again. This process,
called chewing the cud, allows the
the deer gath-
hole to drink,
bers of the
the others at
the first sign
axis deer to feed quickly, which
can be important in a dangerous
Herds of axis deer often gather
below trees where langur mon-
keys are feeding and eat leaves
that are dropped by the mon-
keys. In return, the deer, with
their keen sense of smell, warn
the monkeys of predators such
as tigers. The leaves are an im-
portant source of food for the
deer, especially from November
to June, when grass is sparse.
~ _________________________________ G_R_O_U_P_l_:_M_A_M __ M _ A _ L ~ S ~
... ORDER ... FAMILY ... GENUS & SPECIES
"1IIIIIIII Perissodactyla "1IIIIIIII Equidae "1IIIIIIII Equus cabullus
The shire horse was originally bred to work the land and to
haul huge, heavy loads. Today, this magnificent animal is
bred primarily as a show horse.
Height: 5 ~ ft. (17 hands).
Weight: About 1 ton.
Sexual maturity: 2-3 years.
Breeding season: Usually April
Gestation: 11 months.
No. of young: Usually 1 .
Habit: Social; lives in herds.
Diet: Grass, succulent foliage, and
Lifespan: 20-30 years.
Related to all other breeds of horse.
Most closely related to the other
heavy breeds, particularly the
Original range of the shire horse.
DI STRI BUTION
Originally bred in Europe, especially the eastern counties of
England. Found throughout the world today.
The shire was once among the most numerous of heavy horses
but had almost become extinct by the 1960s. The species was
saved by a few enthusiastic breeders, and its future is now en-
sured by the Shire Horse Society.
FEATURES OF THE SHIRE HORSE
brown, gray, or
Back: Short and
© MCMXCII IMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM
no more than
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
NectArched. Long in
proportion to body.
Feather: The long hair on a shi re's
legs. Fine, strai ght, and silky. Bred
over a century ago from a single
shire named "Lockinge Forest King."
0160200571 PACKET 57
The shire horse is named for the shires, or counties,
in the eastern part of England, where it was most widely
bred. This well-known horse was on the verge of extinction
just 30 years ago. But today there are over 5,000 shire
horses throughout the world. The species was saved as
a result of the efforts of a few enthusiastic breeders.
There are many legends about
the origin of the shire horse.
According to one legend, the
shire was descended from a
fearsome war-horse brought
to England by William the Con-
queror. But it is more likely that
the shire was descended from
a horse called "the Black" -one
of the many Friesian horses that
were imported from Holland
in the 17th century to work on
The powerful black Friesian
horses were probably bred with
the best of the British heavy
horses. It was from the offspring
of these strong, hard-working
horses that the shires of today
almost certainly developed.
FOOD & FEEDING
In the wild, the shire horse
grazes on grass by day and
night. It roams in large herds,
seeking fresh pasture.
The domesticated shire is only
rarely allowed to graze for more
than a few hours a day. It relies
on its keeper for supplementary
rations, or short feeds, two or
three times a day. These rations
are usually a mixture of oats,
barley, and bran or special
If kept in a stable, the shire is
given plenty of hay and greens
or carrots. It needs such rough-
age because its digestive system
is used to low-grade food and
can be upset by a rich diet.
Left: The shire is the most powerful
DI D YOU KNOW?
• The shire's name was
not used until 1878, when
the Shire Horse Society
• The American Belgian is
considered the largest of
all the heavy breeds. It is
usually more than six feet
high, and it weighs more
than a ton.
• The long hair, or feather,
on a shire's legs was delib-
erately bred to make the
legs look thicker. The in-
tention was to deceive a
buyer by making the horse
• On good ground a shire
can haul up to five times
its own weight, but two
tons is the usual load.
The shire horse is carefully bred,
with a breed standard set and
maintained by the Shire Horse
Society. The shire mare comes
into season (is ready to mate)
for a few days every month and
is taken to the stallion between
April and June. In the past a
pregnant mare continued to
work, but now this is rare. Over-
SHIRE HORSE & MAN
The shire horse was originally
bred to be compact with strong
legs. It was used on farms to
pull heavy loads. It also served
as a mount for the local black-
smith, who was usually a horse
vet as well.
With the invention of the trac-
tor, heavy horses were no long-
er needed on the farm. Shires
were then used only by brew-
exertion can cause miscarriages,
which few owners will risk.
The mare usually gives birth
at night, preferring to be alone.
The foal is born "all legs and no
body," but it can stand within a
few hours. It can run around in
a day or two but returns to its
mother to suckle every few min-
utes. The foal eats grass but also
eries to pull their heavy wagons.
Today, revived interest in tra-
ditional farming methods has
brought back the shire's popu-
larity, and it can sometimes be
seen at work on farms.
Shire horses are also used in
certain traditional ceremonies.
But most are now bred as show
horses. This trend should en-
sure the breed's survival.
suckles until the ;age of five or six
months. It may be given food
supplements after it is weaned.
A colt (male foal) is watched
from birth to assess its quality
for breeding. Unsuitable males
are gelded (castrated) at about
two years old. The shire is sexu-
ally mature at two or three years
and fully grown at about five.
near its mother
for up to six
of the world's
Silver Crest, "
which was over
six feet tall.
brass and spot-
less tack add to
the shire horse's
"" CARD 197 I
______ GROUP 1: M A M M A L S ~
.... GENUS & SPECIES
~ Bubalus bubalis
The Indian buffalo is more commonly known as the water buffalo.
It spends much of the day submerged in pools or lakes, with
only its head and horns showing above the surface.
Length: Body, 8-10 ft. Tail, 2-3 ft.
Height: 5-6 ft .
Weight: Male, up to 2,650 lb.
Female, 1,750 lb.
Sexual maturity: 3 years, but may
not breed for 4 or 5 years.
Breeding season: Variable.
Gestation: 10-11 months.
No. of young: Usually 1, rarely 2.
Habit: Females and young live in
herds of 20 to 30. Male lives alone
or in herds of 10 to 15.
Diet: Mainly grasses and rushes.
lifespan: About 18 years. 30-35
years for a domestic animal.
Two closely related species, the
anoa, Bubalus depressicornis, and
the tamarau, B. mindorensis, are
also found in southern Asia.
Range of the Indian buffalo.
Only a few thousand remain in the wild in Southeast Asia. Do-
mesticated animals range from the Philippines and Australia to
northern Africa and southeastern Europe. Some feral buffalo
now roam in these areas.
The Indian buffalo is almost extinct as a wild species because of
domestication, habitat destruction, hunting, and disease.
FEATURES OF THE INDIAN BUFFALO
Body: Stout, heavy, and very powerful.
Can measure almost 6 ~ feet in height
and weigh over a ton. The male is larg-
er and heavier than the female.
Hide: Slate gray color, easily seen
through sparse, short hairs. Often
covered with protective layer of mUd.
Horns: Large, curved, and often
ridged. They grow above the ears
from the sides of the skull , sweeping
out and back so that they almost
form a circle. Both sexes have horns.
Hooves: Long and broad. Ideal for
walking on mud or swampy ground.
© MCMXCII IMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM PRINTED IN U.S.A.
Young: Color of hide is similar to the
adult's. The hair is longer and thicker.
0160200551 PACKET 55
The Indian buffalo is one of the oldest species of cattle
alive today. Although millions of these animals
can be found around the world, they are almost
extinct in the wild. Like other members of the ox
familYt the Indian buffalo has been domesticated.
It is an important source of milk, meat, and leather
as well as a strong, adaptable work animal.
The few thousand Indian buffa-
lo that still live in the wild are
found in the jungles of India
and Southeast Asia near lakes,
swamps, or large rivers. The
buffalo spends much of the
day submerged in water or
wallowing in mud, which helps
to regulate its body heat. A
coating of dried mud also pro-
tects its skin from insects.
In the past, large numbers of
Indian buffalo roamed wild in
northern Africa and much of
southern Asia. But changes in
climate, habitat destruction,
and domestication reduced the
number of wild animals. The
few that remain are confined to
a small, mostly protected area.
In several countries, some
domesticated buffalo are now
feral-they have escaped into
the wild. In Australia, where
the animal was introduced in
the last century, there are now
about 250,000 feral buffalo. In
areas with a wild population, fe-
ral buffalo may mix with a wild
herd. This makes it difficult to
classify the animals.
Right: Indian buffalo bulls usually
leave the herd when they are about
three years old.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
The Indian buffalo feeds on
vegetation that grows near
lakes and rivers. Like other
cattle, it grazes primarily on
the succulent parts of grasses,
leaves, and shoots. This buffa-
lo also eats water plants when
they are available.
The Indian buffalo feeds in
the early morning and at the
end of the day, when it can
avoid the many insects in its
habitat. Because it is sensitive
to heat, in some areas it feeds
Left: The crescent shape formed by
the Indian buffalo's horns can span
six and a half feet.
DID YOU KNOW?
• It is thought that there are
75 million domestic Indian
buffalo in India and South-
east Asia today and only
2,000 Indian buffalo that
are truly wild.
• Domestication of the Indian
buffalo began about 3,000
years ago. The buffalo spread
to other countries when Arab
only during the cool hours of
the night. It spends the day
resting in the shade or wallow-
ing in a lake or river.
A herd of buffalo may wan-
der in search of food, but the
herd's movements depend on
the weather. During dry peri-
ods, the animals tend to stay
together near a good water
supply. But after the monsoon
rains arrive, they spread out
and travel long distances to
find new vegetation.
Right: A coating of mud shields
the Indian buffalo's skin from sun
traders sold them in Africa
and crusaders took them
back to Europe.
• In the 13th century the Earl
of Cornwall, brother of Henry
III, tried to introduce some
Indian buffalo to England.
• The mozzarella cheese used
on pizza was originally made
from buffalo's milk.
~ INDIAN BUFFALO & MAN
The Indian buffalo has been
domesticated for thousands of
years. It is valued both as a
work animal and for its milk,
meat, and hide.
In the rice fields of Southeast
Asia the buffalo is indispensable.
It has great strength and long,
broad hooves that enable it to
wade through swamps. It is the
Indian buffalo cows (females) live
in herds of up to 30 cows and
their young, sometimes with sev-
eral young bulls (males). The
adult bulls live alone or in small
groups of 10 to 15.
There is no particular breeding
season, and calves of all ages can
usually be seen within a single
herd. In some herds, however,
calves are born in spring to take
advantage of grasses that grow
during the monsoon season.
When a herd does have a spe-
cific breeding season, the bulls
may try to establish harems and
mate with several females. In
only animal that can pull a plow
through a wet rice paddy.
An Indian buffalo cow can
produce about 2,000 quarts
of milk per year. Richer than
cow's milk, it is the only milk
sold in many parts of India.
It is used to make cheese,
yogurt, and a type of liquid
butter known as ghee.
other herds a male pairs with
just one cow.
A single calf is born after a ges-
tation of 1 0 or 11 months. The
cow always gives birth within the
safety of her herd. At first, the calf
is totally dependent on its moth-
er's milk and suckles about six
times a day. The milk provides
nourishment plus substances
that fight off disease.
In addition to suckling, the calf
grazes on grass from a very early
age. During the first year grass
becomes more and more impor-
tant until it finally replaces the
"" CARD 198 I
~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
... GENUS & SPECIES
~ Thryonomys swinderianus, T. gregorianus
As their name suggests, cane rats are pests that are destructive to
Africa ~ sugarcane crops. They are considered a delicacy in
Ghana, where they are now being raised for food.
Length: 1-2 ft.
Tail length: 2 ~ - 1 0 in .
Weight: Most, 9-15 lb. Up to 20 lb.
Sexual maturity: 1 year.
Mating: Year-round in some areas.
Gestation: 4 ~ - 5 ~ months.
Litter size: 2-4.
Habit: Sociable, living most of
the year in mixed groups. Main-
ly nocturnal but may be seen dur-
ing the day.
Diet: Mostly grasses and cane, but
also other crops and bark, nuts, and
Lifespan: 4 years in captivity.
Cane rats appear to be related to
the African porcupine but are suffi-
ciently distinctive to be placed in a
family of their own.
FEATURES OF CANE RATS
Body: Large and heavy. Head is large
with a short muzzle, small eyes, and
small naked ears mostly hidden in the
fur. Legs are short and sturdy.
Tail: Short and
scaly with sparse
hairs between the
scales, and taper-
ing to the tip.
An adult cane rat can be larger
than a domestic cat.
© MCMXCII IMP BV/IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM
Range of cane rats.
Widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara, from Senegal
and Ethiopia south to Namibia and eastern South Africa.
Like most other rodents, cane rats are in no danger, although
their numbers are kept down by extensive hunting.
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
Coat: Made up of rough, bristly hairs
that stand in distinct rows. Coloring
is brown or yellowish with a white
. in and throat.
0160200491 PACKET 49
Cane rats have powerful incisor teeth that make it easy
for them to gnaw through sugarcane to get at
the nutritious contents. In addition to being hunted
by humans, cane rats are preyed upon by pythons.
These snakes are frequently protected on sugarcane
plantations because they help to keep the
cane rat population under control.
The two species of cane rat
may occupy the same region,
but they prefer different habi-
tats. Thryonomys swinderianus,
the larger rat, is semiaquatic
and inhabits wet areas such as
marshes. T. gregorianus lives
mainly on dry ground.
Cane rats use tall grasses for
cover as well as for food. They
may also take shelter in rock
crevices, termite mounds, or
the abandoned holes of aard-
varks or porcupines. If no other
cover is available, they will ex-
cavate shallow burrows.
A good sense of smell and keen
hearing are important to cane
rats, who have poor eyesight.
Like other rodents, cane rats
have powerful incisor teeth
for gnawing. The incisors are
orange, and the upper ones
have three deep grooves.
A cane rat's forefeet have
three well-developed central
digits, plus a small first digit like
a thumb and a tiny fifth digit
that is almost useless. On the
hind feet the first digit is miss-
ing, but the others are larger
than the digits on the forefeet.
Cane rats are also known as
"grass cutters" because they
feed mostly on grasses. Their
diet may also include other
crops such as corn, millet, cas-
sava, peanuts, sweet potatoes,
and pumpkins. Cane rats also
Below: A cane rat 's coat is so spiky
that it is often mistaken for a cov-
ering of soft quills.
The claws are thick, and the
palms and soles are naked.
Cane rats swim well and often
head for water when disturbed.
They live mainly in groups of
mixed ages and sexes. During
the dry season, the males of T.
swinderianus become solitary,
and the females stay in groups.
Fighting among adult males
is essentially a nose-to-nose
pushing match. If one of the
animals relaxes for a moment,
the other may try to knock him
off balance by whipping his
eat bark, nuts, and fallen fruit.
They often gnaw on rocks,
bones, and ivory, probably to
sharpen their incisors rather
than to obtain nutrients.
Cane rats usually consume
only about 10 percent of their
body weight in food each day,
but they cause quite a bit of
damage in the process. Even
Cane rats begin to breed at
about one year of age. In some
parts of their range, they breed
year-round. But in other areas,
the young are born between
June and August. If conditions
are favorable, a female can pro-
duce two litters a year. The
average gestation lasts five
months, with two to four off-
spring in a litter.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Cane rat hunts are popu-
iar in many parts of Africa,
where people use dogs and
spears to hunt the rats.
• In one year, nearly 440,000
though they consume only a
small part of a cane crop, their
gnawing causes the plants to
topple or bend. This makes
the cane difficult to harvest.
Also, the sun cannot reach the
cane to ripen it properly. So
not only is there a loss of crop,
but the sugar content of the
cane is reduced.
The female makes the special
natal nest in a sheltered spot,
scooping out a hollow depres-
sion and lining it with grass
and leaves. The young are
born covered with hair and
with their eyes open. They are
soon able to run around.
Below: Newborn cane rats are
active and fully haired. These
babies are a day old.
pounds of cane rat meat
were sold in the markets of
Accra in Ghana.
• Because their eyes are on
the sides of their heads, most
Above: Cane rats chew roots into
small pieces, then grasp them in
their paws to eat.
~ CANE RATS &: MAN
Cane rats are prey for pythons,
mongooses, and leopards. Py-
thons are protected on some
sugar plantations because they
keep the rat population down.
Cane rats are a popular food
in Ghana, where their meat
costs more than beef or pork.
Experiments are being done to
see if cane rats can be raised on
farms as a source of food.
rodents can see backward as
well as they see forward.
• Other small rodents that
are bred for food are guinea
pigs and edible dormice.
"" CARD 199 I
~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ ~ ~
~ GENUS & SPECIES
~ Canis familiaris
The husky was originally bred to pull sleds carrying people and
supplies across the frozen wastelands of Siberia. This dog is well
adapted to life in its cold, snowy Arctic habitat.
'\I KEY FACTS
I ~ I SIZES
~ Height to shoulder: About 2 ft.
Length: About 3 ft.
Weight: 30-90 lb., depending on
type of dog and the work it does.
Sexual maturity: 8-10 months.
Breeding season: All year.
Gestation: About 2 months.
No. of young: Up to 9.
Habit: Sociable, with a strong
Diet: Any raw meat, also fish.
Lifespan: Usually 12-13 years, but
varies. Working dogs have shorter
lives than those in less harsh do-
All domestic breeds of dog are
classified as the same genus and
species. Wolves, coyotes, dingoes,
foxes, and dholes belong to the
Original range of the husky.
Husky-type dogs originated as work dogs in northeastern
Siberia. Today they can be found in domestic situations
throughout the world.
Some old strains of husky types have been revived in recent
years. Breeding societies protect the interests of each recog-
SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE HUSKY
All husky-type dogs share features
that enable them to survive harsh
conditions. At night the dog digs a
hole in the snow that serves as a
warm bed in winter and a cool den
Nose: Air is trapped in the sinuses, ____ ..... _ _
forming a warm cushion that helps
to warm cold a[r as it is inhaled.
Tail: Plumed and bushy. The dog
curls it over its feet and around its
nose as it sleeps. This helps to
warm the air it breathes.
© MCMXCI IMP BV/ IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM PRINTED IN U.S.A.
Fur: Very thick in winter. In summer
thick underfur falls out, leaving a
guard coat of longer, coarser hair.
0160200481 PACKET 48
The name husky refers to a number of different
spitz-type dogs. These are small to medium-size dogs
that have dense hair, a pointed muzzle, erect ears,
and a plumed tail that curves over the back. For
many centuries, these tough, hardy dogs have been
indispensable working companions of the Inuit people,
who are also referred to as Eskimos.
~ O R I G I N S
Members of the dog family,
including wolves, coyotes, jack-
als, and foxes, first appeared in
the Eocene period, 54 to 38
million years ago. Millions of
years later, humans began to
selectively breed these animals.
Most experts agree that the
original huskies were bred from
the large gray wolf that is still
found in northern regions. Over
the years many distinct strains
of husky have been developed,
A female dog, known as a bitch,
first comes into season (is ready
to mate) when she is eight to
ten months old. She is receptive
to mating for the next 18 to 21
days, but if she does not mate
she comes into season again
about six months later. It is con-
sidered best not to mate a bitch
until at least her second season.
The male dog is able to mate
as soon as he reaches physical
maturity at about 10 months.
Even from a distance, he can
detect a bitch in heat (in sea-
son) by the smell of her urine.
The bitch gives birth to a litter
of puppies about nine weeks
after mating. Although the
husky often lives outdoors, it
but they are all similar in appear-
ance and have probably been
The husky is considered the
most primitive of domestic
dogs, as it retains some of the
characteristics of its wild wolf
ancestors. Like wolves, huskies
display territorial instincts in a
pack and have an obvious social
hierarchy. To some extent this
behavior is characteristic of all
dogs, however, not just huskies.
is usually taken inside to give
birth. The puppies could not
survive the cold weather out-
side, where they would also be
in danger of being eaten by
other members of the pack.
Puppies are born blind and
unable to walk. When their eyes
open at 1 0 to 14 days, they
have a bluish haze over them
and need protection from any
strong light. The bitch suckles
the puppies, but they need
additional food by three or four
weeks. At four weeks they are
hardy enough to withstand the
cold, and at six weeks they are
ready to be weaned.
Top: Over many generations
huskies have been bred to with-
stand the rigors of the harsh
Left: Husky-type dogs have been
bred to be work dogs as well as
companions to people.
Right: A working husky's life is very
hard, but the dogs used for racing
are extremely well cared for.
~ FOOD & FEEDING
The husky is a carnivore (meat
eater), with a staple diet of
raw meat. Even though it is a
skilled hunter, years of domes-
tication have made the husky
reliant on humans for its food.
In its native Arctic habitat,
the husky is fed walrus, seal,
caribou, or fish . Since huskies
are relatively small, light dogs,
they cannot go for long peri-
ods in cold weather without
food, especially when pulling
heavy loads. To sustain them
over long journeys, huskies
are fed large quantities of
meat in the rest periods.
Today huskies are kept as
competitive sled dogs for rac-
ing. Owners of these dogs
~ HUSKY & MAN
In remote parts of the Arctic,
huskies provide a means of
transportation for people and
goods over land that would be
Although huskies have a rep-
utation for lacking discipline,
they are still used by most ex-
plorers in polar areas. Bred for
generations as sled dogs, they
are the most adept at pulling
loads over snow and ice.
Huskies have been used by
DID YOU KNOW?
• Like a wild wolf, a female
husky regurgitates food to
feed her puppies, who
stimulate her to do so by
licking her mouth.
• Huskies run nearly 1,000
miles in the Iditarod dog
sled race, the longest race
of its kind in the world.
• Used in teams in Cana-
da, Greenland's huskies
pull weights of approxi-
mately 120 pounds.
carefully monitor their feed-
ing routine, making sure they
receive a balanced diet of
protein, carbohydrates, fat,
vitamins, and minerals such
as calcium and iron.
the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police in their rescue opera-
tions. They have also been
used in wartime in patrols in
Iceland, Greenland, and North
America and to transport sup-
plies and wounded men. Hus-
kies have even been dropped
by parachute to reach people
who were stranded in the
snow. They are also used in
races, pulling sleds in teams
of up to 16 dogs.
"" CARD 200 I
.... ORDER .... FAMILY .... GENUS & SPECIES
"1IIIIIIII Perissodactyla "1IIIIIIII Rhinocerotidae "1IIIIIIII Ceratotherium simum
The white rhino's horns and thick hide help to protect it from
natural predators. But they give little protection from human
hunters, and the white rhinoceros is now nearly extinct.
Length: Male, 12-16 ft. Female,
11-12 ft .
Height: Male, ft. Female,
Length of front horn: Usually
Weight: Up to 4 tons.
Sexual maturity: 6-7 years.
Mating: Any time of year.
Gestation: 1 6-1 8 months.
No. of young: Usually 1 .
Habit: Male is solitary; female lives
with calf or other females.
Diet: Mainly grasses.
Calls: Include pants, growls, bel-
lows, and shrieks.
lifespan: Up to 45 years.
The 5 rhino species include the
black rhino, Diceros bicomis, and
Indian rhino, Rhinoceros unicomis.
Range of the white rhinoceros.
Once found throughout much of Africa south of the Sahara, the
white rhino now lives only in a few game preserves and national
parks in eastern and southern Africa.
Populations are small but stable in protected parks. Continued
hunting threatens the northern subspecies, which occurs only
in the Garamba National Park in Zaire.
FEATURES OF THE WHITE RHINO
THE WHITE AND BLACK
Lias: Short and
stout to support
the weight of
Ears: Large and
swivel to pick up
Horns: Two on
top of the skull
above the nose
and eyes. The
front horn is
much longer than
the rear horn.
Head: Massive with
elongated skull. Hump on
back of neck contains the
ligament that supports
the weight of the head.
© MCMXCI IMP BV/IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM PRINTED IN U.S.A.
White rhino: Broad lips and a
square-shaped mouth give a
large area of bite for grazing on
Black rhino: Painted, mobile up-
per lip for gathering tall grasses
and shrubs. Tip is folded away
when feeding on short grass.
0160200471 PACKET 47
The white rhino has a large hump on the back of
its neck. It also has wide, square lips, which it uses
for cropping the short grass of the African savanna.
These two features distinguish the white rhino from its
close relative the black rhino. The adult male white rhino
rarely mixes with other bulls, but the females often
graze or rest together in small groups.
About a third of all adult male
(bull) white rhinos hold a ter-
ritory. The other bulls live as
subordinates alongside the
dominant male. A territory can
be up to one square mile, and
the male marks the boundaries
by spraying them with urine.
The dominant male growls
and bellows if a rival approaches.
The two animals face each oth-
er and slowly raise their heads,
at times with horns touching.
This ritual is repeated until the
rival retreats with a high-pitched
growl. White rhinos rarely fight,
but they test their strength by
charging each other or wres-
tling with their front horns.
The female has her own large
range. Although it may overlap
another rhino's territory, the
female roams about freely in
search of food and water.
The white rhino has poor
eyesight and relies on its keen
sense of smell to locate food,
water, and other rhinos.
When a female white rhino is
ready to mate, she sprays urine
as she passes through a male's
territory. The male tries to keep
her in his territory by chasing
her back if she tries to leave.
Since she often has a calf with
her that may be attacked by the
male, the female is usually ag-
gressive toward him at first. But
eventually she allows him to lay
his head across her back and
mount her. After she has mated,
the female moves out of the
male's territory with her calf.
The female rhino is ready to
Left: The male white rhino shows
aggression first by growling and
then by bellowing.
DID YOU KNOW?
• The white rhino is quite
agile, able to move 25 miles
an hour over short distances.
One captive rhino climbed a
gate over six feet high.
• The white rhino's name does
not refer to its color. It comes
from the Afrikaans word weit,
meaning "wide" and refers to
the animal's mouth.
give birth 16 to 18 months after
mating. By that time the previ-
ous calf will be at least two years
old. The mother chases it away
and gives birth alone. She keeps
the new calf isolated for a few
days to protect it from being
trampled by other rhinos.
A female cannot reproduce un-
til she is six or seven years, and
she usually does not produce a
second offspring for another two
to four years. The late sexual ma-
turity and low reproductive rate
are two reasons why the white
rhino population has declined.
Right: A calf follows its mother at
three days old and stays with her
for two years.
• Rhinos could be found in
many parts of the world, in-
cluding Europe, until the
last Ice Age, about 15,000
• The longest white rhino
horn measured six and a half
feet, but few white rhinos
live long enough to grow a
horn that long.
~ FOOD &: FEEDING
The white rhino needs a per-
manent water supply and large
quantities of food. Its diet con-
sists mainly of grass, which it
gathers with its wide, square
mouth. It uses its horn to dig
up roots when the grass is too
short for grazing.
In cool weather the white
rhino alternately feeds and
rests every few hours. In hot
Left: The white rhino's broad
mouth is adapted for grazing
on short grass.
nails, the white
are made of
males use them
in conflicts, but,
inflict a serious
weather it rests in the middle of
the day and feeds in the morn-
ing and evening, sometimes
continuing into the night in
order to get enough food.
The white rhino needs water
to drink and to keep cool. It
wallows in mud until its hide
is coated. The mud cools the
rhino and protects it from in-
sects and parasites. The white
rhino needs water every two to
three days and will walk up to
six miles to find a supply.