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It can grow to a length of six feet. It can pierce the side of a lion, an elephant, or even a car!

The horn of the rhinoceros is an amazing weapon. It is also unlike the horns of other animals. Deer antlers and goat horns are made of a bony material. But rhino horns are made of thick, hairlike fibers. These join together to form the horn.

This horn protects the rhino from all of its enemies--except man. For centuries, men have killed the rhino for its horn. Long ago, they claimed it could cure disease and heal wounds. Some even said it would keep people from growing old!

Today we know that a rhinoceros horn does not have magical powers. But some people still hunt for rhinos. If the rhinoceros becomes extinct, it will be because of people who want its horn--the weapon the rhino has always used to protect itself.

The rhinoceros has a bad temper. It will charge almost anything that moves. But rhinos allow egrets and tick birds to stand on top of them any time. That's because these birds eat insects that pester the rhinoceros.

The rhino's ancestor was the baluchitherium (buh-LUKE-uh-theer-ee-um), one of the largest land mammals ever. It lived forty million years ago. It was eighteen feet tall. That's taller than a two-story house!

There are five of rhinos. The largest is the Indian rhinoceros. The smallest is the hairy Sumatran rhino. The longest horns are found on the white rhino. The fastest rhino, the black, can run thirty-five miles per hour. And the most endangered is the Javan rhino. There are fewer than one hundred of them.

If you want to know more about what is being done to save rhinos, write to: Save the Rhino, World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
COPYRIGHT 1999 Children's Better Health Institute
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:rhinoceros horn
Publication:U.S. Kids
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 1999
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