Black Rhino Diet
It is almost impossible not to play with a black rhino
lip. The excess skin on the nose creates smooshworthy
folds and the prehensile lip investigates every new
object, wrapping around it and pulling it in for closer
examination. These traits, combined with the fact that
black rhinos lack teeth in the front of their mouths,
cause people to get complacent near the mouths of black
rhinos and I know several people who have lost parts of
fingers while hand-feeding rhinos.
The diet of black rhinos is made up of leaves, branches,
twigs and forbs. They have been known to eat grass on occasion, but
they are primarily browsers. A rhino’s prehensile, or hooked, lip
allows him/her to grab leaves or branches and pull them into his/her
mouth, similar to how an elephant uses her/his trunk. The rhino
will then bite the branch at a clean, 45-degree angle and use
his/her powerful jaw and molars to chop each bit into smaller, more
easily digestible pieces. A stringy bite that appears torn can often
indicate a problem with the teeth or the period of time when the
rhino’s deciduous teeth are being lost and her/his permanent teeth
are coming in.
Black rhino have premolars and molars, lacking incisors
or other teeth at the front of their mouths.Teeth wear is one of the
more accurate ways to determine the age of a rhino, though it can be
difficult. Not only does one have to have a good, well-lit view of
the rhino’s entire mouth, but knowledge and experience of wear
patterns are also crucial.
These big, strong teeth and jaws, thick skin and saliva
allow black rhinot o enjoy browse that many other species do not.
Favorite browse species of black rhino include thorn trees like
Acacia sp. and Dichrostachys sp. Eubphorbia sp., a
special treat for black rhino, is toxic to some species and may
cause blisters or irritation on the skin and in the eyes of humans.