Back to top
Rhinocéros blanc © MNHN – F-G. Grandin

The white rhinoceros

The white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum, is one of the two African species of rhinoceros which itself has two sub-species, the northern white rhinoceros (DRC and Central Africa) and the southern white rhinoceros (South Africa).


Class, order and family :
Mammalia, Perissodactyla, Rhinoceridae
Life span :
up to 40 - 50 years in captivity
Size & Weight :
1.50 – 1.80 m at the shoulder and 2 – 3.5 tons
Gestation period :
17 months, one calf per litter
Natural habitat :
woodland savanna, forest
Diet :
Native region :
the Democratic Republic of Congo for the northern white rhinoceros and South Africa for the southern white rhinoceros
Statut UICN : 

Near Threatened (NT)

Distinctive features

The white rhinoceros differs from the black rhinoceros in that it has big pointed ears, a wide muzzle, square lips and a characteristic shoulder hump.
They have an impressive set of muscles which enables them to run very quickly if necessary, as fast as 50 km/h in some cases.


Although its skin is undoubtedly paler than that of the black rhinoceros, its description as "white" comes from a mistranslation of its name afrikaans widje (wide), which describes the shape of its top lip, not its colour.