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Bigalke, R.C., 1978. Mammals: pp. 981-1048

In: Werger, M.J.A. Biogeography and ecology of Southern Africa. Amsterdam, Junk (Monographia Biologicae, vol. 31): vol. 2, pp. 663-1439

Location: World
Subject: Behaviour - Social Behaviour
Species: White Rhino

Original text on this topic:
There appears to be some uncertainty over social organization. Authors such as Schenkel & Schenkel-Hulliger and Joubert & Eloff found no evidence of territoriality. However Owen-Smith (1975) regards the species as being territorial and, contrary to conventional beliefs, finds little difference between the social system of Ceratotherium, which he studied intensively, and Diceros. Only 3.4 per cent of white rhino groupings included more than three individuals against 1.7 per cent for black rhino which is usually said to be much more solitary. Black rhino subadults are however usually found solitarily while in white rhino associations of several individuals are relatively common.
Ceratotherium simum, the white or square-lipped rhinoceros, is the largest living purely grass eating mammal. Owen-Smith (1975) shows that some adult males (alpha males) occupy territories of average size of 1.65 which in the Umfolozi Game Reserve contain both tall and short grassland; this apparently supplies adequate food. There were also shady resting sites and temporary water pools used for drinking and wallowing. Subsidiary males share territories with the alpha males. Adult cows five in home ranges of about 10-15, which overlap those of others and also overlap several territories. They are accompanied by a calf or one or more subadults. White rhinos feed entirely on grass and are water dependent.

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