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Sumatran Rhino - Dicerorhinus sumatrensis

The Sumatran Rhinoceros is a herbivorous browser that belongs to the order of the Perissodactyla and is one of the three species of Rhinos native to Asia. Its habitat is dense tropical rain forest and occurred from North-East India through Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and the Indonesian Islands of Borneo and Sumatra; hence its name. It is the most endangered species of rhino due to its rapid decline of more than 50% in the last 15 years. There are currently 275 Sumatran Rhinos left in fragmented populations throughout South East Asia. Current efforts to protect this species are through Rhino Protection Units, that patrol their current habitat and through (semi-) captive breading programs. The Sumatran Rhino is the smallest of all Rhino species and is particularly hairy.

Sumatran Rhino Facts


General information

  • Weight: 600 - 950 kg (1,300 – 2,000 lbs)
  • Height (at shoulder): 1 – 1,5 m (3 -5 ft)
  • Length (head and body): 2 – 3 m (6,5 -9,5 ft)
  • Anterior Horn length: 0,25 – 0,79 m (10 in – 31 in)
  • Posterior Horn length: 0,10 m (3 in)
  • Lifespan: 30 to 45 years (record in captivity is 28 1/2 years)
  • Characteristics: only Asian rhino with two horns, tufted ears and haiy reddish brown skin.

Sumatran Rhino Behaviour

  • Sumatran Rhinos are very agile and quiet in their forest environment and may reach speeds of 40 km/h (25 m/h)
  • Young Sumatran Rhino males are often very aggressive towards females and are known to injure or even kill them during courtship.
  • Sumatran Rhinos are very solitary except for the females when they have a calf.
  • Sumatran Rhinos bulls have territories of about 50 square kilometers in size. Females have smaller teritories (10-15 square kilometer)
  • Sumatran Rhinos feed during the morning spend a lot of time wallowing during the day.
  • In the rainy season they travel to the highlands, returing to the lowlands in the dry season.

Sumatran Rhino Reproduction

  • Gestation period: 15 - 16 months.
  • Birth intervals per calf: 3 to 4 years.
  • Female sexual maturity: at 6 to 7 years
  • Male sexual maturity: at approximatly 10 years
  • Newborn weaned: at 16 to 18 months (stays with mother for 2 to 3 years)

Sumatran Rhino Distribution

  • Current numbers in wild: 275
  • Numbers in captivity: Currently there are less than 10 individuals. In the past 200 years to 1998, there were 96 inviduals in zoos and circuses.
  • Habitat: Lowland secondary rainforest, swamps and moss forests
  • Historic Natural Range: Rare in Northeast India, throughout Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Malaysia and the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.
  • Current Range: In several scattered National Parks in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo, including Way Kambas, Bukit Barisan Selatan, Gunung Leuser, Taman Negara & Tabin Wildlife reserve.

Sumatran Rhino Diet

  • Sumatran Rhinos are browsers and feed on leaves and fruits in their tropical habitat.
  • Sumatran Rhinos have a very varied diet, as they are an opportunistic feeder.

Common Names

  • Sumatran Rhinoceros: This name refers to the island where it occured most.
  • Hairy rhinoceros: Refers to its hairy skin, in contrast with other species that don't appear 'hairy'.
  • Asian two-horned rhinoceros: The Sumatran Rhino is the only Asian Rhino species that has two horns.
  • Other names: view a list of Sumatran Rhino Vernacular Names

Scientific Name


The scientific name for the Sumatran Rhino is Dicerorhinus sumatrensis.Dicerorhinus being from the Greek di for “two”, ceros for 'horn' and rhinus meaning “nose”.Sumatrensis refers to the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, were the species is most common. Throughout history the Sumatran Rhino has been referred to using quite a lot of different scientific names. View a list of Sumatran Rhino Scientific names.


  • The Western Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis sumatrensis) is the most common of all Sumatran Rhino subspecies. Its estimated that there are about 275 left on western Sumatra. There is a slight genetic difference between the Western and Eastern Sumatran Rhino.
  • The Eastern Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) or Bornean Rhinoceros was once common throughout Borneo, but now the species has been estimated to have less than 50 survivors.
  • The Northern Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis)has been declared extinct. It once roamed in India and Northern Bangladesh. Some (unconfirmed) reports there is still a small population living in Burma.


Puntung airlift
Beddard 1889 sumatrensis forelim...
Sumatran Rhino horn
Basel 1959
Tongue of Sumatran rhino
Sumatran in Tring
Graffiti 2007
Cincinnati 1992
Port Lympne 1986
Noll - Hairy eared rhino
Vienna 1904 ee
Basel 1959
Starboard 1830
>> More Images

External Links

WWF: Sumatran Rhino Info (hits:597)
Extensive information by the World Wildlife Fund on the Sumatran Rhino. Covers physiology, threats, habitat and much more.
Animal Info: Sumatran Rhino (hits:441)
Biology, ecology, habitat, and status of the Sumatran Rhino and information on their native countries: biodiversity, ecosystems & population.

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