Rhino Moms

Fierce and protective yet gentle and patient – rhino moms may be some of the best mothers in the animal kingdom!
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That’s close enough! This Greater One-Horned mom makes sure to put herself between her calf and any potential danger.

All five rhino species have a long gestation period. Rhino moms are pregnant for 15-16 months before giving birth to a single calf.

Southern White Rhino with calf
This White rhino mom keeps her young one very close. She’ll use that horn to scare off predators like lions and hyenas and will even keep other rhinos away until the calf is a bit bigger.
Depending on the species, rhino moms will nurse calves up to two years. For the first six months, Sumatran rhino calves will nurse every one to two hours! Below is a video of young Delilah nursing from Ratu in 2015.

All rhino species make for very attentive mothers. Rhino moms will spend a lot of energy feeding her calf, keeping it safe, and teaching it how to take care of itself. See how cautious this Javan rhino mom is in this camera trap footage from Ujung Kulon NP (2016):

Calves will stay close to mom until they’re one and a half to two years old. By that time, Mom may be ready to give birth to her next calf!
Black rhino and older calf
Black rhinos moms are always on alert, staying protective of her calves even when they’re older. This mom appears to be pregnant again and close to giving birth.
Rhino or not, we hope all the moms out there have a wonderful Mother’s Day and get to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.
Ratu Andatu 2012
Sumatran rhino mom, Ratu, teaching young calf, Andatu, about the wonders of a good wallow (2012).

Happy Mother’s Day!

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