How Do Rhinos Communicate With Each Other……………

Humans communicate by talking, facial expressions, body language and sign language.

Just because rhinos can’t talk to each other, this doesn’t mean that they don’t communicate! They use various methods of letting other rhinos who they are, where they are and how they are feeling.

They use SCENT, VOCALISATIONS, INFRASONIC communication & BODY LANGUAGE.

  1. SCENT
  • One of the most important things in the rhino world is that of their territory (the area they live which they consider to be their home). The way they ‘communicate’ this to other rhinos is by leaving piles of faeces (poo or dung) and spraying urine (wee) which gives off a particular smell from each rhino – and we all know that rhinos sense of smell is very strong!
  • When they spray urine, the rhino will generally spray two or three quick sprays approximately every five minutes, around the area that they want to protect as their own.
  • A pile of rhino faeces is called a ‘midden’ and it hold very valuable information for other rhinos! Scientist have studied rhino middens and have found that because different animals leave different chemicals in their poo, this gives other rhino clues as to where it came from.
  • When a rhino comes across a ‘midden’, they will smell it, walk through it and then add his or her own dung to the pile.
  • Rhinos also sometimes scrape their feet in their ‘midden’ so that as they walk they leave a strong scent trail, once again setting out their territory. It is very easy to see where they have scraped their feet in the dung and these places are called ‘scrapes’. Middens and Scrapes are two easy to see signs that show us rhinos are around.

2. VOCALISATIONS

 

  • When rhinos meet one another, they use vocal sounds to communicate.
  • They have a number of different sounds they can make like squeals, snorts, moos, growls and even a trumpet sound!
  • The first sounds of a baby rhino is a high-pitched squeak!
  • If they become scared or if a Mummy rhino is trying to quickly tell her calf to get out of danger they will even scream.
  • Another way the Mummy rhino can alert her calf to danger is to use their breath to pant. How fast she pants and the rhythm of the pant will depend on the urgency of the situation.
  • Panting can also be used to reassure young rhino calves.
  • This is a little like Morse Code for rhinos!

3. INFRASONIC COMMUNICATION

 

  • There are certain sounds that cannot be heard by human ears but because they are either very high or very low frequency, some animals can hear them.
  • Ultrasonic sounds are the very high frequency ones and the animals that can pick up on these are bats, beetles, moths, dolphins, dogs, frogs for example.
  • Infrasonic sounds are the very low frequency ones and these are the ones that rhinos can hear as well as other animals like hippos, elephants, whales, octopus, pigeons, guinea fowl and some fish.
  • If we could hear them, they would probably sound like a very high whistle followed by a sharp burst of air.
  • The Sumatran Rhino has been found to give off such a high pitched sound that it can actually be heard by animals up to 20 kilometres away!
  • Humans can only pick up these sounds on a special machine.

 

4. BODY LANGUAGE

 

  • Despite having poor eyesight, rhinos also rely on parts of their body to communicate.
  • By flattening their ears they are showing anger and could be warning off another animal.
  • By rubbing sides with another rhino they are showing affection.
  • If their ears and tails are standing up, this means that they are curious or nosy!
  • Sometimes calves swing their heads around other calves which means that they would like to play together.

So you see, just because rhinos can’t talk to each other, they can tell each other an awful lot about themselves in lots of other ways!

Our very own Ronnie Rhino has made a video to show you how to make your own delicious chocolate middens. Get an adult to help you with sharp knives and hot pans!

They look delicious!! I hope you enjoy making them!!!

The Crash