Difference Between White and Black Rhino

Main Difference – White vs Black Rhino

Rhinoceros or rhinos are among the largest and the most powerful terrestrial animal on Earth. White rhino and black rhino are the two living species native to the African continent. They are considered as Africa’s most endangered mammals due to extensive hunting for their horns, which are made up of keratin. The horns of rhinos are mainly used for ornamental and medicinal purposes. Both males and females possess a pair of horns, which is mainly used as an effective weapon. Other than humans, rhinos have no other natural enemies. They are herbivores and have very poor eyesight. Nevertheless, their sense of smell and hearing are very well developed. The difference between white and black rhino cannot be explained by their body colors. Both species have thick greyish-brown skin color. The most prominent physical difference is the shape of their mouth. White rhinos have a broad mouth with flat lips, which are used for grazing, whereas black rhinos have long, prehensile, pointed lips, which are used for browsing. This is the main difference between white and black rhino. More differences will be covered in this article.

White Rhino – Facts, Characteristics, and Behavior

White rhinos are grazers and are characterized by the presence of broad mouth with flat lips. Other than that, they have elongated head that enables them to reach the ground easily. Mature white rhinos are larger than mature black rhinos. An adult white rhino can weigh between 2000-2300 kg. White rhinos are usually social animals, creating cow-calf group numbering up to 10 members. White rhinos are also known as the square-lipped rhinos.

Main Difference - White vs Black Rhino

Black Rhino – Facts, Characteristics, and Behavior

Black rhinos are smaller than white rhinos, weighing between 800-1200 kg. They are characterized by the presence of elongated, prehensile, narrow lips adapted for browsing. Moreover, their concave back and upward-pointing horns are unmistakable. They prefer to live in open scrub lands. Black rhinos are solitary mammals and extremely territorial. They are aggressive and attack suddenly when they are in danger.

Difference Between White and Black Rhino

Difference Between White and Black Rhino


White rhino male can reach 2300 kg.

Black rhino male can reach 1100 kg.

Shape of the mouth

White rhinos have a wide mouth with square shaped, flat lips.

Black rhinos have a long, pointed, prehensile lips.


White rhinos have pointed ears.

Black rhinos have rounded ears.

Shape of the body

White rhinos have a flattish back with a bump near the middle of the body.

Black rhinos have a concave back.

Shape of the head

White rhinos have an elongated head, usually bent downward.

Black rhinos have a round head, usually bent upward.


White rhinos have larger horns, and the front line is always longer than the rear one.

Black rhinos have smaller horns and either front or rear one can be longer.

Gestation period

White rhinos have a longer gestation period. (16 months)

Black rhinos have a slightly shorter gestation period. (15-15.5 months)


White rhinos are not aggressive.

Black rhinos are aggressive and very dangerous than white rhinos.

Feeding pattern and habitat

White rhinos are grazers, and they prefer open grasslands.

Black rhinos are browsers, and they prefer open bushveld.

Tail shape when alarmed

White rhinos curl their tail.

Black rhinos keep their tail straight.


White rhinos are threatened, but well protected by captive breeding.

Black rhinos are highly endangered.Difference between White and Black Rhino - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“White Rhino” by By Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa – White Rhino,(CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

“Black Rhino” by Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa – Black rhino running in this direction. (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Yashoda

Yashoda has been a freelance writer in the field of biology for about four years. He is an expert in conducting research related to polymer chemistry and nano-technology. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Applied Science and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry.