Respect the Rhino

Rhino attacks on humans are extremely rare. By nature they are mainly solitary animals and will only charge if feeling threatened, something more common in the case of a mother protecting her calf.

Animals rarely, if ever attack without warning. The key is to be aware of the signs they exhibit. In the case of rhinos, they will show their irritation with curled tails, snorts, or stomping/digging at the ground.

When they get irritated enough, the first charge is often a “mock” charge, stopping short of a full on attack.

We were once charged by a male rhino who was following a female and calf, in hopes of breeding. The warning given to us was a quick snort and prolonged stare in our direction. He charged at the vehicle but stopped short of any real damage.

Needless to say, we apologized and left very quickly.


The male in the front was hoping for further “romantic” pursuit with the female in the back. Unfortunately we were intruding. This was the last shot before he lifted his head and let his displeasure be known. photo: Fight for Rhinos

In the case of the rhino, and more commonly heard of elephant “attacks”, it is almost always the fault of humans getting too close and not respecting the signs of the animals.

Following nature’s rules is a matter of common sense.
1. Never get too close, maintain a respectful distance; especially in the case of a moving animal. If he is coming in your direction, don’t block the way.
2. Be quiet. The beauty of being in close proximity is in being a part of the environment. Do not make loud sounds or unnecessary noise.
3. Pay attention to an animal’s body language. Gauge the situation, if an animal is in musth or has a little one close by, back off.

Remember this is THEIR home. You are the guest.


In a more comical “attack”, this baby elephant flared his ears, shook his head and mock charged us, while his family continued to browse around him. photo: Fight for Rhinos





Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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