Historically, hunters and land developers have represented the biggest threat to rhinoceroses. According to the Honolulu Zoo, rhino populations were decimated by uncontrolled hunting and poaching during the colonial period; farming and settlements also helped in the destruction of rhino habitat . Farmers considered all rhinos as pests that needed to be eliminated. No other species poses as much of a threat to rhinoceroses as do humans.
Rhinoceroses are large, thick-skinned mammals with large horns that protrude from their noses. The rhinoceros is a powerful animal capable of moving at great speeds. The greatest threat to the rhinoceros comes from human hunters, but as is the case for many wild animals, parasites, jealous rivals, and opportunistic predators can be dangerous as well..
Typically, adult rhinoceroses do not face much of a threat from other wild animals. However, as young rhinoceroses, or calves, a chance encounter with carnivores could prove fatal. "Calves are subject to predation by lions and hyenas," according to the Denver Zoo.
Parasites can also be a nuisance to rhinoceroses. According to the scientific journal "Mammalian Species," six species of ticks bother rhinoceroses and parasitic fly larvae have been found inside of rhinoceroses. In some cases. rhinoceroses allow birds to perch on their back to eat the insects and little creatures that might otherwise pose a bigger threat to rhinoceroses.
Male rhinoceroses can be both territorial and combative towards other males, or "bulls," who are not submissive. Typically, dominant bulls will only allow females and other submissive bulls into their range, but when overlaps does occur, a fight may ensue. According to the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web, "fighting between males is often a cause of death when population densities are high."
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