Greater One-Horned Rhino

(Rhinoceros unicornis)
IUCN RED LIST: Vulnerable

Greater one-horned rhino numbers have recovered from fewer than 200 earlier in the 20th century to as many as 3,345 today thanks to strict protection from Indian and Nepalese wildlife authorities.

The greater one-horned rhino is one of the two greatest success stories in rhino conservation. However, poaching pressure has remained high. The species’ recovery is precarious without increased support for conservation efforts throughout its range.

  • The greater one-horned rhino lives in northern India and southern Nepal, in riverine (floodplain) grasslands and adjacent woodland.
  • Greater one-horned rhinos are grazers. When not grazing on land, animals like to immerse themselves in water, where they also graze on aquatic plants.
  • Gestation lasts approximately 15-16 months, and mothers give birth to one calf every 2-3 years.
  • Greater one-horned rhinos are usually solitary except for females with young. Males maintain loosely-defended territories.
Current Greater One-Horned Rhino Numbers and Distribution

There currently are approximately 3,333 greater one-horned rhinos surviving (IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group, 2013).

CITES: Appendix I

Species map
Historical Range indicator Historical range Current Range indicator Current range Unconfirmed occurence indicator Unconfirmed Occurance
Common Names

Greater one-horned rhinoceros: referring to the single large horn

Indian and/or Nepalese rhinoceros: referring to the species' range

Scientific Name and Origin

Rhinoceros unicornis

Rhinoceros: from the Greek “rhino”, meaning "nose" and “ceros”, meaning "horn" and “unicornis” from the Latin “uni”, meaning "one" and “cornis”, meaning "horn"

Physical Characteristics


  • Weight: 4,000-6,000 lbs (1,800 - 2,700 kg)
  • Height: 5.75 - 6.5 feet (1.75 - 2.0 m) tall at shoulder
  • Length: 10- 12.5 feet (3.0-3.8m) length of head and body


Greater one-horned rhinos have a single horn 8 to 24 inches (20 to 61 cm) long.

Other Features

Brownish-gray, hairless, with folds of skin that resemble plates of armor with rivets. The upper lip is semi-prehensile, for grasping branches and leaves.