Can You Own A Pet Rhino?

Can you keep a rhinoceros as a pet? No, these giant animals make terrible pets because of various reasons. They are too big, dangerous and most people wouldn’t be able to keep their needs fulfilled.

Rhino baby with its mother

Is It Legal To Own A Rhino?

No, it is illegal to own a rhino as a pet. If you want to keep one of these big herbivores you would need a license which is very hard to get. 

Private persons need a lot of money to get the permit. The government will check if you are able to take proper care. That means someone will come and visit your place. You then would have to show, that you have enough space and all safety requirements are met.

Additionally, you would need to show that you have enough knowledge about the species. 

Rhinos Aren’t Domesticated

Rhinoceros aren’t domesticated. It’s right you can find a lot of examples where people tamed a rhino. Youtube is full of videos where people play with these animals and pet them. 

But there is a huge difference between tamed and domesticated. Domestication describes the process of selective breeding over many generations. The outcome is a pet or animal that suits our needs very well. Often domesticated animals need humans to survive too.

Just think of cats and dogs and their behavior. There is no way a rhino would act like this. At least it isn’t predictable as wild instincts can kick in at any time, no matter how tame the rhino is.

Rhinoceros Are Dangerous

Yes, they are herbivores and far away from being a predator like a lion. But some animals like elephants, hippos and seals can be dangerous just because of their sheer size.

Imagine an adult black rhinoceros weighs 2,1 tons which is just enormous and white rhinos are even heavier. They can easily trample a person to death even with just one foot and one move. Now think about the horn which they use to fight with other rhinos. One out of two males will not survive and die due to injuries they get fighting with other males.

That being said, rhinos are usually friendly towards humans. If they know them. The problem is, that rhinos have bad sight which can lead to dangerous confusion.

Pet Rhinos Eat A Lot Of Food

Rhino eating grass

Rhinoceros are herbivores that eat a lot. I bet it would be hard for every owner to come with that much food. While white rhinos are mostly grazers that eat grass and everything that grows on the ground, black rhinos don’t reject even bushes and small trees.

The animals spend half of their waking time eating. That results in an amount of 120 pounds of grass per day for a white rhinoceros. Black ones eat a little less but it’s still a huge amount. Think about the logistics that one would need to sustain this demand for food.

Pet Rhinos Need A Large Habitat

Two rhinoceros walking

Almost no private person would have so much space that it would be enough for a pet rhinoceros. The habitat should include some kind of pond, many trees and a lot of room to roam.

When you visit a zoo that keeps rhinos you can get a good impression of what a good habitat should look like. For many people that live in colder climate zones, the temperatures would be a problem too. You can’t keep a rhino indoors so it has to be warm enough at any given time.

Pet Rhinos Need A Vet

All pets need a vet. Even if they are healthy regular check-ups are necessary and it’s no different for rhinos. However, they are so big that it would be nearly impossible to visit the vet with the animal. 

You would need to find someone who is willing to visit you and the veterinarian must have experience with large herbivores.

It’s impossible to find one that ticks all the boxes as these persons already work full time at zoos and animal parks or shelters.

Of course, it would also be very expensive because of the knowledge needed but also because of the size of the animal.

There Are No Rhinos For Sale

There are no rhinos for sale. If you still like the idea of having a pet rhino it’s as easy as that. Rhinos are endangered and protected by law. There are no breeders where you can go to buy your baby rhino.

The few who do, sell the animals to zoos and work on the conservation of the species.

Rhino horns are traded at black markets in Asia and Africa for high prices but even there you won’t find a living animal for sale.

However, this would be illegal and no one should ever consider buying an individual of any species this way.