Classroom Connections: Feed a rhinoceros at Utah's Hogle Zoo

By Heather Tuttle

Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, June 17 2014 2:40 p.m. MDT

Average life expectancy in the wild is an average of early 30s. In a zoo setting it is longer because we have such great health care for animals.

The biggest problem now for life expectancy is poaching (for their horns). It is really hard to retrain a culture that for thousands of years has used things like whale bladder, tiger blood and rhino horns for medicinal purposes.

How big is their poop? — Miles, 12

It is pretty big. We pick up a few hundred pounds each day. They eat a lot and they poop a lot.

In Africa you will see huge rhino mounds of poop, and that is like their calling card that "this is my territory." They are specific defecators. They will poop in one place.

Why is their skin gray? — Sean, 9

To blend in with their environment.

Why is their skin scaly? — Eliza, 9

They have pretty rough skin. They are build to withstand the heat.

How thick is their skin? — Heather

An inch to 2 inches thick.

Do they have packs? And how big are they if they do? — Eliza, 9

A pack of rhinos is called a crash. From what I’ve seen in Africa, it can be anywhere from two to seven.

Is it true rhinos have really bad eyesight and that’s why they charge and ram things? — Wendy

Absolutely. They don’t have very good eyesight or much peripheral vision. They have really big heads. So a lot of things scare them.

In the wild when they get scared, they bluff-charge and then run the other direction.

They have really good hearing and sense of smell to make up for it.

Are rhinos colorblind? — Ben, 8

I don’t know.

Do they swim? — Alyssa, 7

They wallow. They aren’t really set up with their little tiny legs to do much swimming.

How does a rhino sleep? — Ben, 8

They sleep lying down.

Are they smart? — Heather

They are not superintelligent. It’s been said that their nasal cavity is actually bigger than their brain.

Rhino population

There are five living species of rhinos. One rhino is poached every nine hours. All five species of rhino are in jeopardy of going extinct.

AFRICA: White rhino: 20,400

Black rhino: 5,000

ASIA: Javan rhino: 44

Sumatran rhino: 100

Indian rhino, aka greater one-horned rhino: 3,300

AAZK Bowling 4 RHINOS!

Hogle Zoo and the Utah Chapter of American Association of Zookeepers invite you to their annual fundraiser.

This is a fun family event that includes two games, all-you-can-eat snacks, pizza and soda. Free T-shirt and prizes with $50-plus in extra donations.

When: Friday, June 20, 5-9 p.m.

Where: Olympus Hills Bowling Lanes

Cost: $25 for adults, $10 for children under 10

100 percent of donations benefit rhino conservation

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