Two types of rhino typically abound in the African bush, the white rhino and the black rhino. The distinction between the two lies mainly in their feeding habits. The white rhino are grazers; the black rhino, with their hooked lips, are browsers. Both teeter on the verge of extinction, particularly the black rhino, due largely to an explosion in illegal rhino poaching in pursuit of the animal's horn. The horn is largely made up of keratin and utterly useless for the mythological purposes that are purported. In an attempt to impede poaching, many rhinos have been dehorned; but sadly this affects their behaviour and can cause them to become more aggressive.
Rhinos have particularly poor sight, but a strong sense of smell and hearing, and may thus attack if they feel threatened – their charges are notoriously violent and these creatures are considered one of the most dangerous animals in the bush. When attacking, rhinos will lower their heads, snort and start charging in order to run through the threat with its deadly horn. Female rhinos will stress when they give birth, becoming very aggressive and attacking anything that comes close to them. Rhinos can live for up to 45 years and females will generally only give birth to one calf in her lifetime.
One of the most famous relationships in the bush is that of the symbiotic one between rhino and oxpeckers. The birds will feed on ticks they find on the rhino, while acting as a "guard", nosily making the rhino aware of any danger.
Inverdoorn is home to five rhinos: two females, one male and two calves.
A popular theory of the origins of the name "white rhinoceros" is a mistranslation from Dutch to English. The English word "white" is said to have been derived by mistranslation of the Dutch word "wijd", which means "wide" in English. The word "wide" refers to the width of the rhinoceros' mouth. So early English-speaking settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "wijd" for "white" and the rhino with the wide mouth ended up being called the white rhino and the other one, with the narrow pointed mouth, was called the Black Rhinoceros.
Ironically, Dutch (and Afrikaans) later used a calque of the English word, and now also call it a white rhino. This suggests the origin of the word was before codification by Dutch writers. A review of Dutch and Afrikaans literature about the rhinoceros has failed to produce any evidence that the word wijd was ever used to describe the rhino outside of oral use.
Other popular theories suggest the name comes from its wide appearance throughout Africa, its color due to wallowing in calcareous soil or bird droppings or because of the lighter colour of its horn. An alternative name for the white rhinoceros, more accurate but rarely used, is the square-lipped rhinoceros. The white rhinoceros' generic name, Ceratotherium, given by the zoologist John Edward Gray in 1868, is derived from the Greek terms keras (κερας) "horn" and therion (θηριον) "beast". Simum, is derived from the Greek term simus (σιμος), meaning "flat nosed".
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