Triceratops vs Rhino: What Are the Differences?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: May 8, 2022
© freestyle images/Shutterstock.com
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The triceratops was a massive dinosaur that last roamed the planet about 65.5 million years ago. In fact, this horned beast may have been one of the last dinosaurs left following the asteroid impact that is believed to have spelled the end of the dinosaurs. No dinosaurs remain today, but some lookalikes roam the world. In particular, the rhinoceros looks like it could be related to the triceratops on account of its horns. Today, we’re going to perform a triceratops vs rhino comparison and show you how they are similar to one another and what makes them different.

Comparing a Triceratops and a Rhino

Triceratops has the size advantage.
TriceratopsRhino
SizeWeight: 12,000lbs-20,000lbs
Height: 9ft – 10ft
Length: 25ft – 30ft
Weight: 1,765-7,716lbs
Height: 4.3ft-6.3ft
Length: 11ft-15ft
Morphology– Quadrupedal
– Three horns on its head, two high on the head and facing forward, and one on top of the “nose”
– Frill that protects their neck  
– 1 or 2 horns depending on the species (some females have none)
– Horns measure from 8-to 39 inches, but the largest horn was 59 inches
– Large, gray body with thick, tough skin
Location– North America, including the U.S. and Canada
– North Dakota and Saskatchewan
– Africa and Southeast Asia
Class– Reptile– Mammal
Eating Habits– Herbivorous– Herbivorous
Eats trees, bark, shrubs, and more
Attack/Defense Methods– Used its bodyweight and horns against other members of its species
– Used horns and ramming to topple and kill enemies
– Could potentially stomp smaller foes
– Charge enemies
– Black rhinos use their weight and horns to kill enemies
– Indian rhinos and some others use their incisor teeth to fight instead of their horn

The Key Differences Between a Triceratops vs Rhino

The greatest differences between a triceratops and a rhino are their morphology, size, and location. Triceratopses are very large quadrupedal reptiles from North America that weigh up to 20,000lbs and possess three horns on their head, two forward-facing from their brow area and one pointing upward off their “nose, but rhinos are mammals weighing up to 7,000lbs from Africa and Southeast Asia with either no horn, one large horn, or two horns, one large and one smaller, depending on their species.

These unique qualities make it easy to tell these animals apart despite being quadrupedal, horned animals. Now, we’re going to go further in-depth and examine various other qualities of these animals. By the time we’re done, you’ll know for certain that rhinos are not the heirs of triceratops but wholly different creatures, even if they share some characteristics.

Triceratops vs Rhino: Size

triceratops
Triceratops can grow to 30ft in length.

©freestyle images/Shutterstock.com

Triceratopses are much larger than rhinos. A triceratops can grow up to 30ft in length, stand 10ft tall, and weigh up to 20,000lbs. That is a very large animal, almost double the size of a rhino.

Rhinos are some of the largest land-dwelling mammals in the world, though. They can weigh between 1,700lbs and 7,700lbs at their greatest size, and they can stand just over 6ft tall and measure up to 15ft from head to tail.  

Triceratops vs Rhino: Morphology

Both triceratopses and rhinos can be described as horned animals, but their horns aren’t that similar. Triceratops was a quadrupedal reptile that had three horns on its head, one by its “nose” and two that protruded from the top of its head and faced forward. These dinosaurs were capable of using those horns for defense. The triceratops also had a hard bony frill that extended from the back of its head to protect its neck.  

Rhinos are mammals that can have one or two horns (or none in some cases) that are known for their large bodies and thick, grayish-brown skin. Their horns can be very long, measuring between 8in and 39in, with the maximum recorded being 59in.  

Triceratops vs Rhino: Location

Animal Groups – Crash of Rhinoceroses
Rhinos are found in Africa and Southeast Asia.

©Henk Bogaard/Shutterstock.com

We know that the triceratops lived in North America throughout its lifespan 65.5-68 million years ago based on fossil records. They have been found in the northern part of the United States and parts of Canada.

Rhinos have a much smaller range now than they did many years ago, but they are generally found in some parts of Africa and also parts of Southeast Asia. However, rhinos in different parts of the world have some very different qualities.  

Triceratops vs Rhino: Class

Rhinos are mammals, and triceratops were reptiles. Although some people have asked if rhinos are dinosaurs owing to their looks and similarities to them, they are simply mammals.

Triceratops vs Rhino: Eating Habits

Rhinos are herbivores that mostly prefer to eat shrubs, bark, trees, and other greens. Although we know that triceratopses were herbivores, we don’t know what sorts of foods they preferred to eat when they roamed the earth.

Triceratops vs Rhino: Attack/Defense

How Fast Do Rhino Run - Charging Rhino
Rhinos can charge enemies to gore or trample them.

©Chris Twine/Shutterstock.com

Rhinos are interesting because they have two different methods of attack that they use depending on their species. For example, the black rhino will defend itself by charging at enemies with its massive horn, goring foes, or stomping them to death. Although Indian rhinos will use their body weight to stomp on or charge others, they prefer to use their massive incisor teeth to kill their enemies.

In terms of sheer defense, rhinos have thick bodies and skin to match. This can protect them against many sorts of attacks, even attempts to kill them from other rhinos.

Triceratops most likely used their exceptional weight to stomp enemies to death. Yet, we know that they also used their horns. Sometimes, they would use it to battle against members of their own species.  A triceratops may have been able to use its horns to kill much larger dinosaurs, potentially winning a fight against a T-Rex.

Another important part of a triceratops’ defense can be found on the bony frill that protects its neck. This undoubtedly helped ward off predators that were trying to get to the juicy neck meat below the frill.

All in all, the rhino and the triceratops share many qualities. However, their differences are the most important part. Rhinos are not related to triceratopses, they come from different animal classes, and they occupy different parts of the world. Still, they’re incredibly large creatures that are fun and interesting to study, even when not a direct comparison to one another.


The Featured Image

triceratops
Triceratops, dinosaur reptile stomping, prehistoric Jurassic animal isolated on white background, 3D illustration
© freestyle images/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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