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A rhinoceros is one of several species of large mammal living in Africa and Asia. Its main distinguishing characteric is a large horn placed on its nose. The word rhinoceros comes from the Greek words rhino (nose) and keros (horn). Rhinoceros horns, unlike those of other horned mammals, consist of densely compacted hair.

There are five species of rhinoceros:

  • Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), living in Eastern and Southern Africa. Its size is in the same range as the hippopotamus. Both are larger than any other living land animal except the elephant.

  • White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum, also square-lipped rhinoceros), living in the Congo River area and South Africa

  • Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), living in parts of India and Nepal.
  • Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), living on the Indonesian island of Java, though nearly extinct.
  • Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), living on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Borneo.

Rhinoceros is also the name of a play by Eugène Ionesco; see Rhinoceros (play).

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