Rhinoceroses have many features and techniques they use to survive in the wild. These survival mechanisms include:
Rhinoceroses are huge. They are the second largest land mammals in the world; elephants are the largest. The White Rhino is the biggest of the five species, weighing up to 6,000 pounds and the Sumatran Rhino is the smallest, weighing up to 2,000 pounds. Being such a large size, adult rhinos do not have much to fear in the animal kingdom. In fact, humans are their only real predators. Calves (baby rhinos) that are still small enough to attract predators are protected by their mothers who stick close by, scaring off any animal who intends them harm.
In addition to their large size, rhinoceroses are really fast. Rhinos have big feet that are capable of supporting their large bodies, while enabling them to run really fast. Depending on the species, rhinos can run up to 40 mph. Imagine a rhino running as fast as a car towards you! When a rhino feels it is in danger, it charges full-speed at the object of its fear. Usually, this is just an act of intimidation to try to scare a predator away, but if necessary, the rhino will run into and ram a predator that fails to seek cover. The rhino is also quite agile, despite its large size and can quickly maneuver and turn in tight areas.
Rhinoceroses have one or two horns -- depending on the species -- located on the front of the face, above the nostrils. The horns are made out of narrow, tightly matted together tubes of keratin (the same substance human hair and nails are composed of). Rhinos use their horns to defend themselves against predators and during mating fights. Sometimes during mating time, two males will fight with each other over a female. Very occasionally, two females will fight over a male. A piercing jab from the horn can be deadly. Sometimes during a fight, a horn will fall off, but grows back slowly over time.
Rhinos have thick skin that is difficult to penetrate, protecting them from predators and thick brush in the habitat. The skin looks rough and leathery, but it is actually quite soft and sensitive. Rhinos frequently roll in mud wallows, coating themselves with mud, which protect their skin from sunburn, insects and to keep cool in hot weather.
Rhinoceroses have poor vision. Their vision is so poor that they have been known to barge into trees, mistaking them for predators. To make up for their poor vision, they have an excellent sense of smell and hearing. They can rotate their ears to enable them to locate sounds coming from different directions and they use their sense of smell to detect predators and to communicate with each other. By smelling the urine and dung from other rhinos, they can detect the boundaries of other’s territories and when others are ready to mate.
The tick bird -- called askari wa kifaru in Swahili, which means the rhino's guard -- and the rhino have a symbiotic relationship. The bird eats ticks and other insects off the rhino's skin and raises a noisy fuss when something is near, alerting the rhino to danger.