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There are good seasons and bad seasons for the One-horned Rhinoceros. In the months leading up to the monsoon, as the temperature climbs, the rhino is forced to spend more and more time rolling in the mud to keep itself cool, and the overpopulation of hyacinths clogs and chokes out the myriad plantlife of the riverbed. The rhino reluctantly adjusts, coming to subsist upon these very hyacinths, though their taste is bitter, and the rhino sorely misses the variety of the cooler months. The rhino's dissatisfaction, it is not to be forgotten, has much to do with the fact that a healthy adult One-horned Rhinoceros consumes approximately 200 pounds of food per day.

The female rhinoceros sexually entices the male rhinoceros by the odor of its feces, and the male answers by lifting its own scent into the wind through urination. When they find each other, their coitus is commonly interrupted by competing male rhinoceroses, who will then join battle with the mating male rhino. Rather than using their horns, the One-horned Rhinoceros actually relies more on its teeth to gouge at the flesh of its opponent. When the pain of battle overcomes the sexual pull of the female, and the lesser rhino withdraws from the competition, the suitor is decided.

The wounds the rhinos sustain in these competitions can be considerable, and they do not heal easily. In the more terrible wounds, over time, maggots inevitably form to work at the soft, exposed flesh; if not for a local species of bird that cleans these wounds of maggots and germs while the still-living rhinos wince in patient pain, these wounds might persist unto life-threatening infection.

Because the One-horned Rhinoceros gives birth about once every three years, the rhino will probably be around the age of 3 the day it scurries down to the riverbed to meet its mother at the wallows for the usual romp in the mud, when its mother turns upon it and drives it away with a sudden, unforseeable violence. Dismayed, the 3-year old retreats to a safe distance, it now being full-grown, and its strength perhaps having already come to surpass that of its mother. It may not know now that its mother has given birth again, and that it is protecting the smaller, weaker sibling of our 3-year old, but this first-born will one day do the same for its own offspring, protecting them even from each other. This separation from the mother is an important developmental moment for the One-horned Rhinoceros: it will only now begin to seek out its first mate.

But it is not always a hard season for the One-horned Rhinoceros. The occasional wildfire toasts the grass, which is apparently delectable when cooked, and the giddy rhino will incorporate a happy spring into its step, and its jaw will be blackened by the vitamin-rich soot. It will, one day, have offspring of its own, and these offspring will insist on staying close to the adult, and there is some value in this, and more than a little validation. And the monsoon will always, finally, come, and it will raise the water-level, and excite the curious rhino. And it will wash away the bitter hyacinths, and the colorful, myriad plantlife will return, its sweetness so welcomely devoured by the One-horned Rhinoceros that he will in his enthusiasm forget that there ever were hyacinths cluttering the bank in the first place.

In these temperate seasons, the One-horned Rhinoceros will romp in the mud with its child, and it will lay in the sun in the mild heat, the mud drying on its awkward, plated body.


The One-horned Rhinoceros is currently on the endangered species list. All of this information taken from a show I saw on The Discovery Channel this afternoon, In the Tracks of the Rhinoceros.

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