It is not often that we get to witness rhinos mating, so this video clip – captured by Matt Meyer while out on a game drive at MalaMala recently – is a special one.
Adult rhino are solitary in nature, and only come together for mating purposes. There is no seasonal pattern to when rhinos mate, but the females are inclined to give birth towards the end of the rainy season. Males following females that are in season will scrape and spread the dung left by the female, making it more difficult for competing males to pick up her scent trail.
Courtship behaviours before mating include snorting and sparring with the horns among males. Another courtship behaviour – known as bluff and bluster – involves the rhino snorting and swinging its head from side to side aggressively, before running away repeatedly.
Breeding pairs stay together for two to three days, and sometimes even weeks. Mating takes place several times a day during this period, and copulation lasts for half an hour, or more.
The mating pair in this video were together for several hours, and once copulation had taken place, the male onlooker (in the background) also mated with the female.