Understanding Rhinos: How They Use Dung To Mark Territory

Rhinos at Lake Nakuru National Park
Written by See Africa Today

We all love rhinos.

And Africa is one of the few places on earth where you will find the southern white rhino. They are widespread across East African and Southern African parks. But they are guarded all day and night to wade of poachers.

In Kenya, for example, there is security personnel always looking out for them. Here’s the thing. Kenya boasted of a staggering 20,000 black rhinos in the 1960s, just before independence. Sadly by 1980, there were only 300 rhinos left in the entire country thanks to poaching. 

They are now endangered species protected day and night from poachers. Data shows there are more than 600 rhinos in the country. Rhinos are a part of Kenya’s heritage, adding to the scenic beauty of wildlife in the country.

Rhinos are poached for their horns believed to contain a medicinal and aesthetic value. A thriving market for wildlife trophies in Asia has existed for years now.

The situation is not different in other parts of Africa. Rhinos are under threat, so they are protected by the muzzle of a gun all day and night.

This notwithstanding, rhinos have special characters that you can’t help but marvel about. They are intelligent animals whose survival tactics in the jungle amaze everyone.

Therefore, welcome to learning more about the unique characters of rhinos.

Rhino Reserve

A rhino. [Photo: Mbarack Salim]

What Is The Personality Of A Rhino?

Rhinos are the most self-assured or somewhat confident mammals on earth. They possess a dangerous level of self-assurance to the point that they let nothing or anyone stop them. Besides, they are highly insecure animals and are always alert. 

Perhaps, this stems from historic injustices carried out by poachers in the hunt for their horns. It also explains why a rhino is quick to anger. You don’t want to cross its line because it charges aggressively, and nothing stops it. These humongous animals suffer from the inability to control anger. They are a perfect case of how anger triggers collateral damage in the animal kingdom.

With a history of being a target for poachers, a rhino is deeply mistrustful. It lives a life of looking over its back in the wild. What’s surprising is how it manages to co-exist with other animals in the jungle with this high rate of mistrust. But, don’t animals have their particular rules for the jungle? 

On the flip side, they exhibit great enthusiasm that helps in expression. When in a good mood, a rhino in the park will go about its foraging business without much bother. Nonetheless, it reacts explosively to the slightest provocation.

Why Do Rhinos Mark Their Territory?

It is hardly surprising that these animals are significant markers of territories. Here’s why they do so. Rhinos understand their shortcoming in anger management – at least if they understand what it is (pun intended). They mark their territory to keep the peace.

What’s interesting is that rhinos are not troublemakers; they value peace. Therefore, they will continuously graze within a specific territory to avoid fights and unnecessary engagement with other animals because it can be a bully. All factors about its standing favor bullying; robust, huge, and unbearable.

So, rhinos have great discipline even amongst themselves. They mark their territories to keep peace and have a place to walk around with their families without interference.

How Do Rhinos Mark Their Territory?

You will love this! Dung marks boundaries which, in other terms, is their home. It is not uncommon to find a southern white rhino defecating in various spots within an area.

First, rhinos have poor sight, which works against them when marking their territories with their eyes. Thus, they use dung and smell to create boundaries. A bull defecates in several spots and happily spreads the dung with its rear feet. It leaves a unique smell of his scent that helps him remember his boundary. Other rhinos also smell the dung and keep off a brother’s territory.

Female rhinos add to the mix by defecating at the boundaries’ edge to alert the male counterparts of their “moment of heat.” And this is how procreation in the rhino world happens!

So, you are now up to date with what goes on in a rhino’s world. It is interesting. But it is also admirable that these animals treasure peace and have the best methods of warding off an invasion.


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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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