Rhinomania!


As I mentioned yesterday, this is our fourth visit to Chitwan and I’ve been lucky enough to go on an elephant ride the past three times. We didn’t plan on going on one again, but the very kind staff at the Nepali Center for Nature Conservation invited us over for tea and an elephant ride. While we were taking a look at their facility, something came running up to us….

baby rhino chitwan

More like a big dog than a baby rhino, she was curious and friendly. Who were we? Why were we there?!

It was an eight month old baby rhino. She had been badly injured after a tiger attack and the staff were taking care of her. She had suffered injury to her back leg, losing the pad to her foot and was recovering from an operation to repair the damage.  Its a great facility for her to safely wander around while she recovers.

baby rhino chitwan

It was so fun to pet a baby rhino! I never thought I’d get a chance. She was so tough and strong. The folds of skin are amazing.

baby rhino chitwan

…and she was playful too. Obviously feeling well enough to break into a run here and there

Charmed by our new friend, we set off to ride an elephant for an hour into the park. You never know what you’re going to see, although this is not Africa and there isn’t an abundance of wildlife roaming in packs. I go for the pleasure of the ride and the early morning peace of the park. If we see something, its a bonus.

After a little while we spotted a rhino sleeping under a tree.  Elephants and rhinos get on fine, and a sleeping rhino often won’t move when an elephant walks by.  This one stood up and gave us “the eye.”

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Well? What do you want?!

Then we found out why. She wasn’t alone.

baby rhino chitwan

Another cute baby rhino! This one was even younger and sleeping..

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All drowsy, she stood up and joined with mom in a curiosity stare ,,,

mother rhino with baby

…and they very kindly did a mother an child photo opp for us ;o)

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Adorable!

Amazingly our rhino experiences didn’t stop there. A couple of days later, I headed out birdwatching with a guide.  He asked me if I would like to see a rhino and took me to a spot down by the river.  In a muddy ditch sat an old curmudgeon-like rhino who gave us an impatient snarl.  The guide said he was too old and weak to go into the jungle as younger rhinos would attack him.  So even often hangs out in the ditch for a bit of peace and quiet, if you can call taking photos from tourists peaceful.

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Remember th e1990s Jim Henson series “Dinosaurs”? He reminded me of the dad!

old rhino

Yep. Definitely not impressed! Poor Guy!

Rhinos for Breakfast


We came upon them so quickly I wasn’t ready with my new camera, so the photo isn’t focused properly on the subject.  But you can see them hiding there in a mud hole, looking very much like giant clumps of mud, except for the giveaway ears.  We see you, Mr Rhinos!

Chitwan rhinos in mud bath

…And they saw us. Sitting on an elephant looking down, we watched them take an early morning breakfast bath in the glorious mud. Last night it had rained for the first time in four months, heavy jungle rain that left everything soaked and steaming, and we had lain awake listening to the thunder and lightening the night before.  Everything was now so wonderfully cooler, and the rhinos were enjoying what must have been their first mud spa of the season.

chitwan rhinos in a mud bath

Not surprisingly they were not too happy about being disturbed, but they weren’t really skittish or aggressive, just a bit put out. It reminded me more of young kids forced out of the backseat of the bus now that the big kids want their seat back. And the big kid was the elephant, not us. Apparently rhinos and elephants get along just fine. They don’t notice us humans freeloading on the elephant’s back. Its all about the elephant, not us, and the rhinos knew to move over so the big guy could take a turn.  Sorry guys!

chitwan rhino is a mud bath

We stopped to take a close up and the last rhino posed for the shot. I love his mud stripe!