Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/381

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373
DESCRIPTION OF RHINOCEROS.

horned white rhinoceros.[1] It is with regard to their horns that the two species chiefly differ from each other; for while the anterior horn of the Monoohoo has an average length of two or three feet, curving backward, that of the Kobaaba not unfrequently exceeds four feet, and is slightly pointed forward, inclining from the snout at about an angle of forty-five degrees. This rhinoceros is also the rarer of the two, and is only found in the more interior parts of South Africa.

The chief distinguishing characteristics of the white rhinoceros are its superior size, the extraordinary prolongation of its head, which is not far from one third of the whole length of the animal's body, its square nose (hence also designated "square-nosed rhinoceros"), and the greater length of the anterior horns.

The "black" and the "white" rhinoceros, though so nearly allied to each other, differ widely in their mode of living, habits, &c. The chief sustenance of the former animal consists of the roots of certain bushes, which it plows up with its strong horn, and the shoots and tender boughs of the "wait-a-bit" thorn; while the "white" rhinoceros, on the contrary, feeds solely on grasses.

In disposition, also, there is a marked distinction between them; for while the "black" is of a very savage nature, the

  1. Only the horns of this species have been described by naturalists. Dr. Gray, of the British Museum, seems to be one of the first who drew attention to the Kobaaba as a distinct rhinoceros. In the "Proceedings of the Zoological Society," No. ccl., p. 46, the following details appear. They were obtained from a pair of horns (of which the wood-cut in the opposite page is an excellent likeness) presented by Mr. Oswell to Colonel Thomas Steele, of Upper Brook Street:
    "The front horn is elongated and thick; but, instead of being bent back, as is the general character of R. bicornis, or erect, as in R. simus, it is bent forward, so that the upper surface is worn flat by being rubbed against the ground. The front horn is thirty-one inches long, flat, square, rough and fibrous in front, rounded and smooth behind. The hinder horn, eleven inches in length, is short, conical, and sub-quadrangular."