Because You Live Here!

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions! Is there something you’d like to know about us, rhinos in general, the zoo, or similar topics? Ask us on our Facebook page or in the comments below!


Do the rhinos have different personalities? Are there things Louise does that Thelma doesn’t?

curly tail

Check out that cute curly tail!

This is a great question, and we do have different personalities!

Thelma is more mellow and laid back. She loves getting her face scratched and rubbed, and she particularly enjoys getting rubbed between her skin folds. Sometimes, during rhino encounters, she’ll curl her tail up or lift one of her legs to get a belly rub. She’s much more curious and likes to stick her face between the concrete posts in the encounter area to check out who is in there.

Louise is a little more nervous and on guard. Louise will scope out the situation, and she must feel settled before she accepts any scratches or rubs from people she doesn’t know. Unlike Thelma, Louise does not enjoy having her face touched, but she does enjoy having her ears scratched. When she is comfortable during a rhino encounter, she will often relax and lean against the concrete posts. Sometimes she’ll get relaxed to the point that she’ll even lay down and snooze. Louise also loves a good belly rub (Louise: Who doesn’t?), but she is a tad jumpy and easily excited, so encounter participants need to be careful.

Despite our differing personalities, we generally get along pretty well. Except for when we get jealous of each other and try to shove each other out of the way….

Do rhinos have predators?

Adult rhinos have very few wild predators, and their main threat is humans. As you may know, all five species of rhino are at risk because they are hunted for their horns.

Young rhinos do have to be wary of many predators due to their smaller size. Young white rhinos may fall prey to lions, crocodiles, hyenas, and wild dogs.

For what does a rhino use its horn?

Horns aren’t just a stylish accessory,  Rhinos use their horns for defense and to protect their offspring and territory.

How thick is a rhino’s skin?

Rhinos have fairly thick skin (which is great for when people make jokes about our weight) compared to many other mammals. At its thinnest, an adult rhino’s skin is about 1.5cm, and at its thickest our skin is about 5cm. While our skin is very thick, we are still susceptible to sunburns and bug bites. Since we don’t have access to sunscreen, we go the all natural route and roll in mud for protection from the sun and insects.

Do we miss being able to go in the water?

ARKive image - Indian rhinoceros

ARKive image – Indian rhinoceros

We’re white rhinos, so we can’t actually swim and we’re better suited for life on the land. We won’t even leave our rhino house if it starts raining. White rhinos will sometimes walk into water and submerge themselves to cool off, but we generally prefer shallow, muddy water when it’s hot out. Luckily, we do have a wallow here at the zoo for those hot summer days!

There are other rhinos, however, that do swim! The Asian species of rhinos (Great-one horned, Sumatran, and Javan rhinos) are excellent swimmers and generally live near water. Greater one-horned rhinos, which are found in India, can even dive and feed underwater.