Why is the white rhino white?

Because there is a white rhino and a black rhino, it’s fair to assume that they got their names from their colour. In fact, it is thought that the white rhino was named after its wide mouth, which is well adapted for grazing its diet of grasses. Dutch settlers in South Africa used the word ‘wijd’ (‘wide’) for the grazing species. This was mistranslated by English-speaking settlers to ‘white’. The black rhino is the same grey colour, and perhaps got its name to contrast it with the white rhino. The black rhino has a pointed upper lip for browsing leaves.

Answered by Rebecca Machin.