Can You Own A Rhino As Pet? Is It Legal?

Can you keep Rhinoceros as a pet? Can You Own Rhino As a Pet? For the most straightforward answer, Rhinoceros isn’t the best wild animal to pet.

Owning a pet Rhino is a very big and dangerous role. Most individuals, even organizations like rescue centers and zoos, can’t keep Rhino’s needs fulfilled. Keeping them in both personal and commercial (Zoo) settlements is challenging, and not everyone can make up for it. Considerations like space, resources, dietary challenges, and Vet support will always come in between. Besides that, Rhinoceros is one of those wild animals whose behavior you can’t predict. There is no way a rhino would act like a dog or cat. 

That is why the outcome of owning a Rhino will possibly prove painful for many. Here is more about the same.

Getting a Pet Rhino: What You Need to Know?

What is a Rhino? What kind of animal is rhinoceros? The Rhinoceros, or as they are lovingly known, Rhinos, is one of the most common wild animals that the world knows about. It is a huge herbivorous mammal easily identified and popular for its characteristic ‘horned snouts .’Every Rhino generally has one or two snouts, a five to eight feet long body, and a weight near 3 to 5 tons. Nearly each of them is hairless except the Sumatran rhinoceros.

There are about 5 Species of Rhinos in the world.

The initial two of them are African Rhino Species (Black and White Rhinos).

Whereas the other three are Asian Rhino Species, including One-horned, Javan, and Sumatran Rhinos

Though not all five species of Rhinoceros are vulnerable, each of them is within a danger range of poachers. There is a huge contemporary market for Rhino horns in Vietnam, Yemen, and China, an overwhelmingly driven one.

History of Rhino (Rhinoceros)

Where Do Rhinoceros Come From? What Do Rhinos Evolve from? Well, Rhinoceros isn’t contemporary animals, but they originated over 25 million years ago during the ‘Miocene’ era. It was when grazing mammals were introduced to the world. 

Rhinoceros are inhabitants of Woolly rhinos who originally were found in frozen ice. They were once found throughout Eurasia and Africa, and today depiction of the same is common in Early European cave paintings. Today Woolly and many other species of Rhinos are extinct. 

Rhino Species Taxonomy Chart

NameRhinoceros
Other NamesRhino, Rhinoceroses,
Rhinoceros, or Rhinoceri
Scientific NamesRhinocerotidae
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderPerissodactyla
FamilyRhinocerotidae
Superfamily Rhinocerotoidea
SizeHeight 5 to 8 feet long
Weighs about 3 to 5 tons.
LifespanWhite Rhinoceros: 40 to 50 years
Indian Rhinoceros: 35 to 45 years
Black Rhinoceros: 35 to 50 years
StatusBlack rhinos, Sumatran Rhinos
Javan rhinos are ‘Critically endangered
Greater one-horned Rhinos are ‘Vulnerable’
White rhinos are ‘Near threatened’

Do Rhinos make good pets?

Rhinos are domestic animals, and thus they do not make good pets. You may find individuals who own them as pets, but it is less likely that all of them went successful with them.

Rhinoceros aren’t domesticated though a lot of people tame them. However, even after taming, there are no chances that a Rhino will ever act like a domestic animal. Even after years of captivity, there are chances that its wild instincts might kick in.

Are Rhinos legal in the US?

Is It Legal To Keep Rhino As A Pet? It is illegal to domesticate Rhinoceros in major parts of the world. Even in the United States, Rhinos aren’t one of those animals that individuals often a pet.

There may be some less-restricted states; however, for possessing big herbivores, you would need a license, which is very hard to get.

The government and animal welfare organizations don’t facilitate an easy permit for a regular individual.

For owning an exotic animal,

  • One must have prior experience in the field.
  • Authorities will go for a background check, location check, and other verifications before considering releasing a permit/ license.
  • Enough knowledge (with proof) about the species helps during the licensing process.
  • Permit for owning a Rhino would prove extremely expensive.

Can you Keep Rhinos as pets?

You cannot have Rhinos as pets, and leaving them in the wild is better. 

Rhinos are highly unpredictable and quite dangerous animals.

Even if it was legal to own them, one could not manage the madness and stress it would require to handle a single Rhino.

Rhinos are playful at one moment, and in another, they might crush you under their feet. 

Reasons why you cannot have Rhinos as pets:

  1. Rhinos are giant and require a huge space to manage their daily needs.
  2. Even if one manages to build a Rhino enclosure, fencing it would cause a fortune. 
  3. Due to their size and weight, Rhinos can destroy pretty much everything. And if there’s something they can’t break, the possibilities of self-harm increase there.
  4. Rhinos need a lot of food, and managing it in captivity is a huge deal. It isn’t the job of one individual, but only a team of dedicated individuals can manage it.
  5. Finding a vet willing and competent to treat Rhinos is nearly impossible. Though even if you succeed in finding one, transporting the Rhino to the Vet is another challenge.
  6. Though Rhinos are solitary when in captivity, they require companionship from their species.

Rhinoceros in the Wild

Rhinoceroses are some of the largest remaining megafaunas and one of the largest mammals in the world. In the wild, they have absolutely no predators other than humans. As human populations rise and cities grow, Rhinos face major habitat loss.

Rhino Habitat Needs

Habitat of Rhino includes different regions, including savannas and shrublands, tropical moist forests, deserts and shrublands, and tropical and subtropical grasslands. However, their specific habitat needs depend upon their particular species. For instance, White Rhinos survive majorly in the African grasslands. Whereas the Sumatran Rhino needs dense highland or lowland tropical and subtropical forests for its survival. 

It is difficult to house Rhinos in captivity because one cannot replicate a small forest. Rhinos would walk miles, run around, and swim all day.

They love soaking and rolling in mud, and considering Rhino’s size; one needs to create and manage a huge mud pool. However, replicating all of this in an enclosure is extremely expensive and humanely challenging.

Rhino Temperature and Humidity Needs

Rhinos need a cool climate to survive. These animals can’t make it to hot weather and rising temperature.

During the hot and scorching day hours, Rhinos either choose to sleep or soak in a mud pool to stay cool. A significant increase in temperature can prove extremely tough for Rhinos.

Rhino Dietary Needs

Rhinoceros are gigantic herbivorous, and a major part of their diet includes grass, fruits, and leaves of shrubs and trees. Rather than at specific intervals, Rhinos graze continuously and can often consume half to a hundred pounds of grass in a day.

In the wild, Rhinos feed on a chemical called phytoestrogens that occur naturally from plants and vegetation.

However, Rhinos in captivity (zoos, etc.) often fail to find similar nutrition, which as a result, could be responsible for infertility in females of the species.

Phytoestrogen is important for female Rhinos since it helps them in producing enough hormones, resulting in better chances of reproduction.

Rhinos eat more during the rainy season than any other time of the month. It is when the grass is green, fresh, and in abundance. 

Besides that, Rhinos can survive for a long without water since they get enough moisture from grass. However, they will not lose the chance to drink some whenever they find some.

Rhino Cleaning Needs

Like any other wild animal, Rhinos, too, are well versed in cleaning and grooming themselves. They enjoy mud bathing, which helps them protect their skin against insects, parasites, and UV effects.

Later, to remove ectoparasites that have become stuck in the dry mud on their skin, they rub their body against rocks and tree trunks.

Common health problems with Rhinos

Rhinos in captivity are more prone to diseases than Rhinos in the wild. The ones in captivity suffer from multiple health problems, including low phosphate levels in blood, anemia, degraded muscle tissue, skin ulcers, liver disease, iron overload, and ulcerative dermatopathy. 

How much does a Rhino cost?

Though Rhinos aren’t the animals on sale, some individuals and organizations have been putting prices on them. In South Africa, the sale value of a Rhinoceros is nearly 350000 Rands which is nearly $21,000.

However, the amount is just an estimation, and there is no true value for buying something that is not on sale.

Where to buy a Rhino? Where to find a Rhino Breeder?

A few National Parks at times offer Rhinos on sale. They generally offer Rhinos in batches, and organizations like Zoos, Rescue centers, Ranches, Eco-tourism departments, and specialized individuals can approach to buy them.

The National Parks do so in order to provide them safety from the threat (human hunting) in the wild. 

Besides that, no more than one or two handfuls of Rhino Breeders are recognized worldwide. However, they also do not deal in the animal trade but work on conserving the species. 

Fun Rhino Facts for Kids

  1. The name Rhinoceros means Rhino (nose), Ceros (horn).
  2. Despite their species classification, both Black and White Rhinos are grey in color.
  3. Despite their huge body, Rhinos have a very small brain, smaller than that of humans as well. The brain mass of a Black Rhino is 531 grams, whereas the brain mass of an average adult is 1300 to 1400 grams.
  4. Rhinos use dung to share information and communicate with others from their tribe.
  5. Rhinos are the second-largest land mammal in the world after Elephants.
  6. Rhino horns are extremely precious and popular. They are highly prized in traditional Asian medicine and often black marketed.
  7. Rhinos and their Bond with Humans
  8. Rhinos are usually friendly towards humans, and they bond well with forest rangers in the wild. However, they being skittish, often attack humans in confusion. 
  9. Social interaction and affection are definitely a thing with Rhinos, but they are definitely not pacifists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you raise a rhino?

The ideal local for raising Rhinos is either in the wild or in spaces like rescue centers and ranches. Keeping them in confined captivity, away from other wild animals and amidst humans, isn’t a healthy practice.

Can a rhino live without its horn?

Yes, a Rhino can live without its horn but being hornless can affect its daily activity.

Can a rhino grow back its horn?

Yes, within 3 to 4 years, a Rhino can re-grow/ re-generate its entire horn back.

Can rhinos swim?

Rhinos can swim; however, their talent differs from species to species. For example, African relatives are very poor swimmers, so they stick just to mud pools. Whereas Asian rhinos are also excellent swimmers, they can even dive and cross rivers easily.

Wrapping up…

Rhinos are wild animals, and they are not meant for domestication. As their population continues to decrease, we should contribute to the conservation groups and local governments for their protection.

Instead of spending a fortune on buying and growing a Rhino, it is better to invest a part of it into their betterment.