Skip to main content

You are here

Southern White Rhinoceros

Ummm... not white?

Download fact sheet (1.26MB PDF)

No, not even close! The name comes from the Afrikaans 'weit' referring to their wide, square lip.

Description: The Southern White Rhinoceros has a thick grey hide and two long horns on its snout. They also have a wide, straight upper lip. Their legs are fairly slim, allowing them to run up to speeds of 45 kmh, which is amazing for their size. Rhinoceros have poor eyesight but their sense of smell is very good.

Diet: Rhinoceros are herbivores and graze mostly on grass with their flat, wide muzzle like a lawn mower.

In the wild: Although they will charge to intimidate predators, rhinoceros are quite placid. Mother-calf pairs stay together for long periods of time. Full-grown males tend to be solitary.

Threats: Humans are the main predators of rhinoceros. Rhinoceros are hunted for their horns. The horn is made from keratin, the same as our fingernails and hair. Rangers in Africa have sedated rhinoceros and cut off their horns to stop poachers. Because the horn is made of keratin, it doesn’t hurt to have it removed.

Did you know?

The most endangered rhinoceros species in the world is the Sumatran Rhinoceros. Perth Zoo contributes to the conservation of Asian Rhinoceros in the wild by supporting Asian Rhino Project and its work. If you would like to help, visit the website at

African Savannah
Other name
Square-lipped Rhinoceros, Wide-lipped Rhinoceros
Scientific name
Ceratotherium simum simum
Conservation status
Near Threatened
Body length
3.6–4.2 m
Up to 2.4 tonnes
16 months
Number of young
Southern Africa

From the blog

Where you can find me

Where you can find me

Map of Perth Zoo highlighting the African Savannah