Do Rhinos Put Out Fires? ???? (Answered)

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There is no recorded footage or credible sources of rhinos putting out fires in modern time. The teory comes to them from tales of earlier historical travellers.

Do Rhinos Put Out Fires By Stamping On Them?

black rhino in lewa wildlife conservancy kenya SLUAW2A

There are many tales from Asia and South-East Asia of cases of rhinos putting out fires by stamping on them and showering them with earth. The Greater One-horned, Sumatran, and Javan rhinos could all be found in these areas so it could be any of these that the stories were based on.

There is no recorded footage or credible sources of this, however, but the rhino does have the local name of ‘badak api’ which translates from Malay as ‘fire rhino’.

Travelers of old-time would always discover animals – or stories about animals – that they didn’t know existed. Without any previous knowledge of a huge or strange-looking animal – they would believe whatever the locals told them. Obviously, these stories would be out of context and the translations would be somewhat disjointed – however, the one about rhinos stamping out fires seemed to take hold.

Appearing in movies (on the wrong continent) and in TV shows, this myth seemed to just continue today – almost without caring whether it was actually true or not. No modern videos or scientific research has ever seen or reported this phenomena – but why ruin a good yarn?

Are Rhinos Attracted To Fires?

Apparently, rhinos have a strong sense of smell and the smell of smoke can irritate them. Potentially a reason for them to be attracted to a fire – out of anger; and if they were charging – this would kick up earth and ‘look’ like the animal was trying to stamp out the fire.

It is also possible that humans set up camps near jungle trails – the exact routes that rhino use to travel through the dense canopy themselves. Perhaps at night, the wandering solitary rhinos suddenly came across a strange smell and the sound of humans and charged out of fear – only to head straight into the campfire. Or perhaps, just 1 rhino did it once and the story spread so far and wide that it seemed like it happened all the time. The first viral gossip?

So fascinating is this story that there was a clip of this from a movie – showing the rhino approach and then stamp out a fire. However, it was an African rhino (a White Rhino) in the clip (See it below)- not one from Asia where the stories originated.

Do Rhinos Attack Human Camps?

Rhinos don’t go out of their way to cause trouble – they have plenty of other rhino-things to be doing – but if they happened across a human camp – why not? When humans have set up in the bush or jungle and are making a lot of noise – this usually scares off any nearby rhino before anything untoward happens.

However, if you are camping quietly and haven’t made sure you aren’t in a well-used area – then rhinos may well come past your camp. They might just be interested in what everything is – seeing as it will all be new to them. New smells, new colors, new materials. And then if something spooks them (some material flapping in the wind, a noise from inside the tent, or a dog barking) they could well charge about or generally smash up the camp.

Do Bears Have Tails & How Long Are They?

Bears and their tail lengths vary across species. However, most bear species have relatively short tails, ranging from 4 to 6 inches in length. Bears primarily use their tails for balance while climbing and walking, rather than for communication or other purposes. So, in general, bears do have tails, but they are not as prominent or long as tails seen in other animal species.

Are Rhinos Really Unicorns?

Well now – this is an interesting one. Just like the tales of jungle rhino stomping out fires – fanciful animals were talked about a lot – and inspired awe. With descriptions of new animals taking on random ‘other animal comparisons’ – people seemed almost able to make up anything based on a few generalizations and a pinch of imagination.

How would you describe a rhino to someone who had never seen one?

Looking at Durer’s rhinoceros – it is easy to identify it as a modern rhino even if it is biologically inaccurate and it’s rather stylized. Durer had never seen the rhino – in fact, no one in Europe had at the time – so it was all done on written descriptions. Not bad – but still better than other interpretations. Perhaps there was a description given of ‘pale in color and like a short, wide horse with a large single horn in the middle of its head’. Easily done?

In the long distant past, members of the rhino family came in all shapes and sizes ranging from that of a medium dog, horse-like rhinos, all the way up the largest land mammal ever to have lived (Paraceratherium) – and they are closely related to the horse family – so it is possible that prehistoric man did see something like a unicorn.

Today, the Greater One-Horned Rhino (or Indian Rhino) is still known scientifically as Rhinoceros unicornis, after all.

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