The Difference Between White and Black Rhinos

Rhinos are some of the endangered mammals in the world, with their total world population not even close to 100,000 individuals. Africa is the native home to both the white and black rhinos although there are three other rhino species all native to the Asian continent. Most people think the black and white rhino are of the same species, but a closer look at both animals sets clear proof that they are different. Here are a few ways to tell them apart.


The white rhino as a long forehead compared to the black rhino. This is the distance between the top of the head and the inner horn. Aside from that, the white rhino has a flat and broad upper lip that is completely different from the narrow and pointed upper lip of the black rhino. The differences come from the dietary comparisons of the two, which we will look at further into the post.

Body Size

The white rhino is significantly larger than its black counterpart with an adult male weighing between 1500 and 2300 kilograms. The black rhino can weigh as low as 900 kilos to 1700 at most. The white rhino is also taller and longer, with more body mass.


Both white and black rhinos are double horned. However, in the former species, the front horn is always larger and longer compared to the second shorter one. Black rhinos, on the other hand, have both horns growing in almost the same size and height.

Hump and Arch

The white rhino’s neck immediately graduates to a large hump that then flattens to the animal’s back. The black rhino does not have this hump. From a sideways view, the black rhino’s back is seen to be deeply arched inwards.


The white rhino is a grazer thus the broad flattened lip. It exclusively feeds on grass and other vegetation growing close to the ground. The black rhino is a browser, therefore, eating from tree and bushes. Its pointed upper lip helps it pick from the trees without getting injured.


Both white and black rhinos live in the wild. However, white rhinos stay in the open grasslands while the black ones prefer thickets and bushes. As such, the black rhino seems to be more aggressive when approached because it is used to being hidden from other large animals. It reacts with aggression because of not having enough time to prepare an escape, an advantage its white cousins have.


The white and black rhinos also share some similarities such as both being grey in colour despite their misleading names. They are also both double horned, have the same gestation periods of 15 months and both give birth to singular calves. Both species of rhinos live alone and can only form small herds when mating, feeding or after a mother gives birth.