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A horse is a horse.

This summer, maybe you'll go horseback riding. Did you know that if you visit the zoo, you might see some relatives of the horse? A horse is a horse, of course, but don't be too sure. A rhinoceros is related to a horse. I bet you thought this animal belonged to the pig family, right? Wrong!

Rhinos are not the only pig-like-looking animals that are related to horses. The tapir also is related to the horse. All three of these animals belong to the order Perissodactyla (pair-ISS-oh-DAK-til-uh). This means "odd-toed." The odd numbers are one, three, five, etc.

We know horses have a single hoof on each foot. The hooves are a horse's toes. Rhinos have three toes on each hoof. Tapirs, however, have four toes on their front hooves and three on their back hooves.

The teeth of perissodactyls are perfect for what they eat. They use their front teeth to bite off plants, Their back teeth are close together, perfect for chewing grass, leaves, and other plant matter.

We all know what a horse-type nose looks like. You've probably seen a donkey's, a zebra's, a burro's or a wild or tame horse's nose. Now take a look at two other horse noses.

The rhinoceros has horns on the middle of his nose made of compacted fibers of keratin. This is what our fingernails and hair are made of. I'd hate t be scratched by a rhino's nose nails! A tapir has an extended wiggly snout that can be used as a snorkel when the animal is under water. He uses this flexible trunk-like nose to pull food into his mouth. Let's not start on elephants! They belong to a different order of animals.

The four-legged animals that we are talking about have tough, thick skin. Their hair is often bristly.

A horse is a horse, of course, but some of their relatives surely don't look like horses at all.

illustrations by Pamela Harden

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Title Annotation:rhinoceros
Author:Mill, Frances
Publication:Fun For Kidz
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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