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BIG Moves

BIG Moves
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-01-16
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 450D, Canon 100-400mm EF f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, Digital ISO 400, UV 77mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Mating, Mammals of Southern Africa II, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park 1, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, Love in Wildlife:), Bayram's Favourites-III, Animals Sex Life [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-11-07 10:33
Viewed: 10381
Favorites: 4 [view]
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
White Rhinoceros - Ceratotherium simum simum

I suppose you were waiting to see some Kruger shots, but I first have to share this episode from my archives. The sighting of mating Rhinos is rather rare and this is the first and only time I ever had the privilege of seeing this after nearly 20 years of regular visits to the numerous Nature Reserves and Parks in South Africa (and it is a TrekNature 1st). There were 8 vehicles lined up in the road who all witness this episode and from the excited conversations emanating from the vehicles I could hear everyone was in awe of what they were busy observing. Unfortunately the Rhinos chose to do their thing behind some weeds and obviously I would have loved to get nice clean shots, but hey, I suppose they are entitled to a wee bit of privacy (chuckle).

Just as rare and significant as this sighting may have been so remarkably funny it was. It was captured near the Bekaphanzi Pan in the iMfolozi Park. This poor guy was slightly smaller than the female and he had a real though time to mount her. It took about 30 minutes before the actual copulation took place (which only lasted about 5 minutes) while all the time the female kept on feeding and moving about as can be seen in the workshop. This detachment surely did not assist the male's amorous attempts and he really had to work hard in order to ensure the propagation of his species. After about 35 minutes our stud was totally exhausted and he slumped down on top of the female. He then unceremoniously slipped off her side, fell to the ground and just laid there; obviously trying to catch his breath and maybe some dignity after the cow almost seemed indifferent to whatever he did. She just gave him one look and then continued grazing. Laughter erupted from all the vehicles lining the road, but I had to wonder: "Why was it all the ladies that laughed the loudest?" Serious.

Taxonomic Classification

: Animalia (animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (animals with a shared body plan having at some stage in their lives: a notochord, a dorsal neural cord, pharyngeal slits & a post anal tail)
SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, & mammals)
CLASS: Mammalia (vertebrate animals with sweat glands, hair, 3 middle ear bones, and a neocortex region in the brain)
ORDER: Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates, browsing and grazing mammals)
FAMILY: Rhinocerotidae (herbivorous megafauna with thick protective skin & a large horn)

Length: 4.5-4.8m; tail length 1m
Height: 180cm at the shoulder
Weight: male 2,000-2,300kg, female 1,400-1,600kg
Horn length: recorded front 1.58m

Also known as the Square-lipped Rhino. Despite being called White Rhino they are grey or taking on the colour of local dust and mud in which it frequently wallows. It is noticeably larger than the Black Rhino (or Hooked-lipped Rhino), has a large, distinctive hump on the neck and the long, heavy head is usually carried only a few centimetres from the ground. Of the two horns on the face the front one is usually the longer. The ears are large and pointed. Its name is derived from the broad, squared-off muzzle adapted for grazing.

Once widely distributed in Africa's grassed savannas, it is now limited to isolated pockets. The southern sub-species was restricted to the iMfolozi Game Reserve (KwaZulu-Natal) at the beginning of this century, but has now been widely distributed to reserves and private farms throughout its former range. Reintroduced population in Botswana and Zimbabwe have been poached to the verge of extinction. By far the majority are located in South Africa.

Shows a distinct preference for areas of short-grass savanna, with access to thick bush cover for shade, and water for drinking and wallowing. Favoured habitats are usually those of mixed grass/open woodland associations.

More social than the Black Rhino, with typical groupings consisting of a territorial bull, subordinate bulls, cows and their accompanying young. Territorial bulls usually only move out of their area if they don not have direct access to water, leaving every three or four days to drink. Other bulls are generally tolerant of a male intruder if he shows subordinate behaviour. The territories are quite small (less than 3km square), but the size is dictated by the quality and abundance of food. Cows occupy home ranges of between 6-20km square that can overlap the territories of several bulls. Although fights over territories are usually avoided, severe conflicts do occur, particularly when a bull is in the company of an oestrus cow. Bulls mark their territories with large dung middens (toilets) located around the perimeter as well as within it, which may involve scuffing with the hind feet after defecation. The spraying of urine also has a territorial marking function. Most feeding takes place during the cooler daylight hours and at night, with shade being sought during the hotter midday hours. Despite their cumbersome appearance they can attain a speed of 40km/h when under stress. Eyesight is poor, but the senses of hearing and smell are acute. Generally more tolerant of human presence than the Black Rhino, but approaches to these animals on foot should be made with caution as there have been several human fatalities following charges.

Selective grazers, showing a distinct preference for short grass species.

During mating, sexual activity can last more than an hour. After a gestation period of about 480 days (16 months), a single calf weighing some 40kg is dropped. The cow moves away from the group to give birth, remaining apart for several days. The calf walks in front of the mother. Calves can be dropped at any time of the year, but in KwaZulu-Natal there are peaks in March and July. A calf remains with the cow for 2-3 years after birth.

Conservation status
Near Threatened - species or lower taxa that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future, although it does not currently qualify for the threatened status (IUCN 3.1). As of 31 December 2007, there were an estimated 17,480 Southern White Rhino in the wild (IUCN 2008), making them the most abundant subspecies of rhino in the world.

Extracted from "Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa" by Chris & Tilde Stuart, Struik publishers.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

PeterZ, vanderschelden, red45, CatherineD, bahadir, anemone, boreocypriensis, ramthakur, Alan_Kolnik, Miss_Piggy, Pitoncle, matatur, zulfu, Adanac, CeltickRanger, anel, sranjan, josediogo1958, Ingrid1 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-11-07 10:41]

Hello Loot,
Great to see a photo from you after more than a half year. And the quality is recognizable. Fantastic photo in superb colour contrasts and very good sharpness. Very special moment in a perfect composition. A beauty!

Hello Loot,
I was reading Peter's critique which I share but as I always have some doubts concerning my English, I wondered whether it is a photo from you or by you.
Just to avoid to be considered ill-mannered.
I remember that Howard once asked me to post mating Rhino. He was joking of course. Spotting Rhino is already an event let alone a mating situation.
In your case, Loot, if you're doing it lot, chances are you'll spot mating Rhino some day. Apparently this was your day.
By doing it a lot I mean going to Kruger of course.
That all said it is an amazing shot. Here we go again...
Looks almost like science fiction; some kind of Jurassic Park happening.
Next the Black Rhino maybe...
Well done and thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-11-07 11:16]

Hi Loot,this is a perfect pic for my "time of love" gallery..ehehe..but i'm usually to take pic whit insects and butterflies..you was lucky to meet a situation like that,and what a perfect pic,the quality so high no need comments.Thanks for share,have a nice week,Luciano.

Ciao Loot, really a red light capture, too hard for TN:) splendid great couple in fantastic acrtion, wonderful natural ambientation, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2010-11-07 11:25]

Hi Loot!

Few minutes ago I watched Madagascar 2 for n-time, but there wasn't scenes like this :-) Perfectly composed picture taken in right moment. I hope this big rhino wasn't angry after your shot.

wow, this is scary :) TFS Ori

Hello Loot,
Nice to see you back with a very impressive scene! It is really more than a nice photo but an important event for this endangered animal. I can imagine the energy spend by this male of 2,000 kg to mount the female! Energy of survival. Hope this mating will have good result: baby rhino.
Technically, the photo is perfect: excellent colours and 3D effect. The WS is very nice too. Congratulations and welcome back! Have a nice week,

Hello Loot:) Amazing shot of this lovely pair in love:) Super in every way. I love this. Great notes as usual. Welcome back.
TFS and regards,

This one is, indeed, a rare image.
Presented with a lot of taste and the notes were quite dignified.
The colours and contrast controls are SUPERB.
I only saw a Rhino in the wild once... in India... from quite a distance.
Seeing them is a rare event; plus you got them mating!!!
Welcome back.... after a THOUSAND YEARS... ha, ha, ha.
Mario with fond regards from Canada.

Hi Loot. Excellent catch of this great action scene:). Great POV and notes.
thanks for sharing
Best regards

Wowww ... The words not enough to express my gladness that your returning MF Loot, even with a great visual impact:)
Well come back MF! I am sure TN will live good days with your activitiy. This is stunning capture full with action. I think male was so tired after a bussy day and female trying to help him, carrying on its back:) Ha ha.. Your notes perfectly well-prepared and useful, as usual.
TFS and have a nice new week MF!


Nice to hear you 'chuckle' on TN after a long time, Loot.
Your story of the mating Rhinos left me in splits. :)
I haven't seen a Rhino with my own eyes yet, so seeing these two massive ones in the mating pose is kind of intimidating, much like watching "Jurassic" featuring animated Rhinos instead of the Dinos!
You lucky guys in SA don't need a macro lens, I believe. With wild life that large in size, who would?
Seriously, you and your work of this calibre is sorely missed on TN, my friend. Reminds of the good old days when novices like me entered the halo-ed environs of TN in its golden era years ago and looked up at giants like you and many others with awe and admiration. Sometimes I wonder why I'm still sticking on tenaciously here.
Thanks for sharing this great image of rarely seen amorous encounters between Rhinos and never mind if the poor stud in your story might remind many of us male homo sapiens of similar ego-deflating experiences. Chukle!

Hello Loot

Very large and horny creatures.Their horns are quite impressive.
Good to see such amazing beasts.The shot is well composed with excellent detail.
The notes are equally entertaining and informative.
Glad the poor fellow did not have performance anxiety.
I guess you were at the right place at the right time...


Welcome back!
This is what we heve been going to our National Parks to for more then 30 years, a once in a lifetime sighting! Perhaps one day we too will get to see this!
A case of being at thr right place at the right time as with so many grta wildlife shots!

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2010-11-07 23:37]

Hello Loot,

A few people get the possibility for make this fantastic image.
Also a very great sharpness and clarity.
Thank very much for your very interesting note about these animals.
Very special moment in a perfect composition, exactly two models for the photographer.
Very well done, TFS.

Best regards,

Excellent shot (despite the weeds!) and excellent note to the picture.

Dear Loot

Today I want to jump the gun, and not start by saying how good your photo is, but by saying thank you for the wonderful notes you ALWAYS write that accompany your photos. One liners that some of the members give and think it is a proper note must really open their eyes to the members like yourself that put in such a great deal of effort in compiling their notes. I also want you to know how much I have missed your name in the gallery.

Whenever I see an image or photo of a rhinoceros, I am as always dumbfounded at the hugeness of this animal, and here you had the opportunity to capture 2 of them in a mating position. AWESOME!!

These are amazing animals and you have captured them extremely well. A very beautiful capture of this lovely pair from a nice angle, and it is wonderful to see the greenery that surrounds them. In fact I like the "weeds” in front of them as it makes this scene so much more natural looking and just as it is supposed to be. An outstanding double capture action-shot.

Excellent focus on both, great sharpness and lovely natural colours. The detail of this photo is first-class and sharp. If you take time and scrutinize with attention you can see many things that stands out on this photo, but I'll just point out one, and that is to see the texture of the skin of the rhinos so clearly. This fact is only proof of an excellent photographer that is acquainted with the know-how of his camera and how to achieve the best results with it, and knows what he/she is doing and doing it to the best.

Thanks for sharing a super image. Love you lots

Bonjour Loot,
Très belle et grande scène de la vie sauvage ; merci pour le partage.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventurees.

Thank you indeed my friend, for sharing this rare privilege with us. Obviously you were in a perfect vantage point to capture this rare sight in perfect focus and exposure. Here, the male does not look intimidated by the female's indifference, hope he succeeded in his efforts to propagate its species! Good to hear from you Loot, and wonderful to read a rather funny and informative note from you again.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-11-08 12:38]

Hello Loot,
Amazing shot of this big mammal pair in love with nice details and composition.
This scene reminded me one of my old posting (a beetle pair) which i have deleted.
TFS and R's,

Hi Loot

Quite a contrast between this image and your previous, and still both portraying action in the bush.

Apparently Rhino Skin is over 4 cm thick and used for making whips.



  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-12-19 11:45]

Hello Loot,
This posting is what this site is supposed to be about, first you give us this excellent image showing us a pair of Rhino's doing what comes naturally. Then you educate us with the great notes, and add another great image in the workshop. What a rare find both this excellent posting and you a dedicated naturalist.
Loot, at this time I would like to pass on a very Merry Christmas to you and Anna from Lucy and myself and may you both have a healthy and happy New Year with many opportunities to enjoy both your new grandchild and photographic excursions.

hello Loot

great shot of these lovers on action,
excellent POV, superbly focused with great
sharpness and details, beautiful luminosity,



  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-12-27 2:26]

Hello Loot,
What yo have witnessed here must have been very impressive and I'm sure not so many people had the luck to see this. At least there is some hope for a future generation! Simple and natural picture and an extraordinary document too. Thanks so much, for your kind wishes and critique too.
Meilleures pensées

Dear Loot,
spectacular shots, indeed. I love both pictures, your comments on them, the whole story. Technically top quality, too. Seeing your wildlife rhinos sharing so many patterns of courtship behavior with our own beloved species, I no longer consider TN to be too restrictive when not allowing Homo sapiens (Linnaeus, 1758) to be shown here, too. In fact, by now I am grateful for that.
Great work. Pleasure to see, fun to read. And good for my health, too, by training my laughing muscles.
With thanks, and all my best wishes to you!

Hello Loot,
A rare lateral profile of the mating couple. The She Rhino has obvious scratches & earth elements as an effects of male forelimbs. What are the warts like structures over the tough skins of this couple; a disease or natural pattern! Thanks for sharing this photograph.

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2011-09-21 13:56]

I have to say Loot, this really caught me eye.


Hello Loot
Fantastic moment with the mating Rhinos.A rare privilege for the Kruger visitors.Before say anything about the photo,very rare one,I must thank You for the note.The photo is a must of uncensored beauty of this giants.Sharp and clear pic,fantastic colours despite the difficult light.Also a privilege You give us TN trekkers.Thank You.
Have a good day!
Best regards

Dear Loot,
it is a true pleasure to add this very special capture to my theme "Animals' Sex Life"

It is such a rare observation; not one book of my numerous literature shows rhinos mating.!

It is so sad, the killing of these unique mammals continues unabated.the use of the so called medicine as useless as having intercourse with a virgin to cure AIDS.

Thank you my friend for sharing your work (namely collating the facts for the notes.

Warm greetings from a hot day at the Tzaneen Dam,and a hug for Anna,

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