Rhinoceros Social Structure
Rhinoceros Social Behavior
The Rhinoceros is often viewed as a solitary animal. There can be herds of them noted in particular areas. This is often due to the fact that their natural habitat has been destroyed and reduced to a very small area. They may be looking for food in similar areas which gives the impression that they are all together but they do prefer to be left alone. Other than for mating or when they are raising young these animals live a solitary existence.
The Rhinoceros social structure is very complex and due to their aggressive nature it can be hard to observe all of it. Both the males and the females are aggressive when it comes to their established territory. This makes it very hard for younger Rhinoceros to go out there and find their own territory where they can live. As a result it can contribute to the death of the young. This is also why you can see younger ones living in closer proximity to each other.
The Rhinoceros will use their horns with each other in battles for both mating rights and for territory. The males are more likely to take part in such behaviors. However, the females can battle too such as when they don’t want to mate with a particular male. They are very aggressive when it comes to protecting their young.
When food is plentiful you will find that the home range of the Rhinoceros often overlap. This is especially true of the females because they are less aggressive. When they do come into contact with each other they are often indifferent to each other. However, when they are fighting for the same areas of food in order to survive their aggressive nature will kick in and take over.
The Rhinoceros has a wide selection of sounds that they use for interaction with each other. They have mainly been observed during mating and when the mothers are interacting with their offspring. A series of growls and grunts are what often are involved with making their communications known. Bellows and snorts are also common.
Even with careful research though we often are clueless about what all of these different sounds mean. Some of them are for warnings, others are for attracting mates. Being able to distinguish them on various levels hasn’t been possible yet due to the risk of being around these animals. They can be quiet for long periods of time too due to the fact that they are used to being alone.
The mothers are often helpful when it comes to protecting the young. This is true when they are being surrounded by large cats that hunt in groups. These females instinctively know that there is a better chance of survival for the young if they work together than if they try to protect their offspring in their own.
It is believed that the dynamics of the Rhinoceros social structure changes too depending on their environment. When they find that their home range is being compacted and food is hard to find they become stressed out and more aggressive. The females are less likely to respond to male advances for mating when they are living under stressful conditions.
There is still plenty that experts haven’t figured out when it comes to the social structure of these animals. The White Rhinoceros is more social than the rest so they have a complex social structure to evaluate. Yet it can be very dangerous for humans to be studying them in a natural habitat.