How fast is a rhino?

Black rhino running at top speed, with curious lions watching in the background

Woah! Watch out! Get out of the way because here comes a rhino running at 55 km/h!

For such a big animal, rhinos really know how to run. They are the fastest mammals weighing over 1000 kilograms.

A white rhino run can reach a speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). Black rhinos can run at 55 km/h (35 mph), the same speed as their Sumatran rhino cousins.

Here’s the full story on how fast a rhino can run.

Rapid Acceleration from a Tank-Like Build

White rhinoceros in running motion

What’s most amazing about rhinos isn’t just how fast they can run, but how quickly they can reach top speed.

Despite being built like tanks, they can switch from zero to full speed in just a few strides. That makes them incredibly dangerous, because there is no warning and no chance of getting out of the way.

In comparison to other African giants, rhinos are much faster than hippos (30 km/h) and elephants (40 km/h). Rhinos are the fastest of all the land mammals that weigh over 1000 kilograms.

How fast can a black rhino run?

Black rhino kicks up dust whilst running away in Etosha

Imagine 1400 kilograms of brawn, muscle and a pointed horn. And it’s running straight towards you…at 55 km/h! You won’t even have time to try and get out of the way.

Black rhinos are the fastest of the rhino species. Calves run behind their mothers – probably because they are struggling to keep up!

This species is also able to swim, although rhinos are not good swimmers; their bulk and build isn’t very convenient for being in the water. So if you want to escape a charging rhino, the lake or river is probably the safest place to be.

How fast is a white rhino?

Aerial view of two white rhinos in South Africa

White rhinos are the heaviest of the rhino species. They can sprint at 50 km/h for short periods of time. It takes a lot of effort to run this fast but it’s an incredible defense tactic.

When a white rhino is annoyed or angry it may choose to charge. Usually after a few strides the other animals (or vehicle) will quickly get out of the way. Carnage ensues when a white rhino runs straight into something else.

Unlike black rhinos, white rhino calves usually run in front of their mothers. This could be seen as a form of protection, particularly if the rhinos are running from danger.

White rhinos are also unable to swim, although they do sometimes bathe in the shallows of rivers.

At what age can a rhino run?

Cute baby white rhino in running motion

There is no crawling for these mammals – newborn rhinos start to walk within their first hour of being in the world.

However, they will be wobbly on their feet for the first few weeks and it will be another two months before the rhino eats more than its mother’s milk.

Rhinos can’t run at 50 km/h in their first year. It’s only when they develop into mature adults that they reach these speeds.

Still, even a baby white rhino without a horn is heavier and faster than we are!

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