What Is the Adaptation of the Rhinoceros?

Thanks to their facial horns, bulk and thick skin, adult rhinoceroses have very few predators. These adaptations, which are elements that animals evolve in order to thrive in their habitats, are very important for their survival while living amid the leopards, lions and hyenas that share their range.

Scientists recognize five different species of rhinoceros. These large mammals exhibit some adaptations that are common to all members of the group, as well as some that differ from one species to the next. For example, all rhinoceroses have thick skin and at least one large facial horn, but their mouths and habits differ throughout their range. White rhinos, as an example, have wide mouths, which they use to crop grasses and low-growing vegetation. In contrast, black and Indian rhinoceroses have smaller mouths, which help them to collect the most nutritious parts of shrubs and bushes.

All rhinoceroses exhibit an excellent sense of smell, which is partially an adaptation that offsets their poor sense of vision. This causes some rhinoceroses to charge in the direction of a threatening odor, even without seeing the threat clearly.

All rhinoceroses also grow one or two facial horns, but African species rely on these horns more heavily for defense. Asian rhinoceroses use their horns for defense, but they also use their lower teeth to inflict slashing wounds on predators.