Watch Four Hyenas Try To Take Down A Gigantic White Rhino By Themselves

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 10, 2023

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rhinoceros standing in a field
© iStock.com/Alberto Carrera

Key Points

  • White rhinos are the second largest land mammals, with only elephants being heavier.
  • White rhinos weigh between 3,700 and 5,000 pounds and can measure between 5 and  6 feet tall at the shoulder.
  • Owing to their impressive size and bulk, most predators generally think twice about attacking them. However, lions may attack their calves.

The white rhino is the second-largest land mammal, and the word “weit,” which means “broad” in the West Germanic language of Afrikaan, refers to the animal’s mouth. White rhinos are also called square-lipped rhinoceros, having an upper lip that is square and nearly hairless. 

These animals have two horns, with the front one being more noticeable than the back one. Rhino horns can grow up to three inches every year and can reach a maximum length of five feet. Males utilize their horns to fight aggressors, while females use them to defend their offspring.

Southern Africa’s grasslands are home to white rhinos, where the climate is mild and there is an average of 27 inches of annual rainfall. They can eat grass for up to ten hours a day, which provides their huge bodies with the necessary nutrition. The only natural predators of adult rhinos are humans, however, lions have occasionally attacked rhino calves.

White rhinos weigh between 3,700 and 5,000 pounds.

©Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com

White rhinos weigh between 3,700 to 5,000 pounds and are 5 to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. After elephants, rhinos are the largest terrestrial animal. Hyenas weigh between 90 and 170 pounds. They range in length from 37 to 59 inches, and their shoulder height is from 29 12 to 33 inches. The male and female spotted hyenas look identical, but the female is noticeably larger.

An Attempt Was Made

We bring up the size of hyenas because a video shows just how confident these small animals can be. You’d think they wouldn’t stand a chance against a giant rhino, but they see the evident power in numbers. 

As one rhino was grazing on a dirt road, four hyenas circle him and make several attempts to take the rhino down. Generally unbothered, the giant white rhino is able to easily defend himself without much effort. 

Lions in Africa and tigers in Asia are the two species that are most frequently known to prey on rhinos, typically young ones. But occasionally, African rhino calves are also known to be killed by crocodiles in the Nile, hyenas, wild dogs, and leopards.

hyena

A spotted hyena is known to make several sounds, some of which sound like laughter.

©J.NATAYO/Shutterstock.com

Hyenas, however, are only likely to eat a rhino if another animal had already caught it. In fact, hyenas are known for stealing food. There have been multiple occasions where these sneaky creatures attempt to take a fresh kill from a pride of lions and quickly find themselves in trouble. 

Rhinoceroses are typically solitary creatures that like to keep to themselves. However, some species, most notably the white rhino, might coexist in a group known as a “crash.” Although occasionally mature females might be spotted together, these collisions are typically composed of a female and her calves. Even though this rhino was by his lonesome, he was able to protect himself from the annoying hyenas! 

Do Hyenas Normally Attack Rhinos?

Indian Striped Hyena in a field

Hyenas are opportunistic predators with a reputation for being extremely ravenous

©Dr. Meet Poddar/Shutterstock.com

Hyenas are highly voracious and opportunistic. If it appeals to their palate (and quite a lot often does), they’ll go for it. Like most other predators such as leopards or lions, they are most likely to try their paws at grabbing a rhino calf.

While a healthy adult rhino in its prime might prove to be too much of a challenge as it did in this case, hyenas on the prowl might have more luck with an injured, weakened pachyderm.

How Large Are Rhinos vs. Hyenas?

Animals in Burundi

Hyenas hunt in packs to increase their chances of taking down larger prey like rhinos.

©Jim Lambert/Shutterstock.com

On average, the weight of a rhino can vary depending on the species. The largest rhino species is the white rhino, weighing an average of 4,400–5,300 pounds, though certain ones can reach weights of over 7,000 pounds. Their weight ranges by species are as follows:

  • White rhino: 1,440 – 3,600 kg (3,168-7,920 lbs)
  • Black rhino: 800-1,400 kg (1,800-3,100 lbs)
  • Indian rhino: 2,200 – 3,000 kg (4,900-6,600 lbs)
  • Javan rhino: 900 – 2,300 kg (2,000-5,100 lbs)
  • Sumatran rhino: 500 – 800 kg (1,100-1760 lbs)

The average body length of a spotted hyena is 3.1 to 5.5 feet, while its shoulder height ranges from 2.3 to 3 feet. Adult male hyenas from the Serengeti weigh 89.3 to 121.3 pounds on average, while females weigh a bit more–98 to 141 pounds. Interestingly, in Zambia, the hyenas can weigh even more, with males weighing up to 149 lbs while females can weigh as much as 153 lbs.


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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