Indian Rhinoceros (Wild Life by Schleich)

Review and photographs by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972

The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) derives its scientific name from its single nasal horn. A big male can weigh up to 2200 kg (4850 lbs), making it the second-largest land animal in Asia after the Asian elephant and the second-largest member of its family after the African white rhino.

This Indian rhino from Schleich came out in 2018. It is sculpted in a casual walking pose with its right front limb in mid-step and its head tilting slightly to the left. Looks like it’s just out for a peaceful morning stroll. A fairly large figure, it stands slightly over 6 cm high at the tips of its ears and measures 15 cm long, making it roughly 1:30 on average (published shoulder height of actual animal 170-186 cm).

Rhinos aren’t known for their vibrant colours and this one is no exception. It is entirely greyish-brown with fine dark grey wash to bring out all the details on the skin. The eyes and nostrils are black. This individual is an adult male, as evidenced by the genital slit between its hind limbs as well as the thick folds of skin hanging down from its neck. Despite their great size and seemingly stubby limbs, Indian rhinos are excellent swimmers and very fond of water. Many’s the time I’ve visited the Toronto Zoo and found the Indian rhinos lounging serenely in their pond with only the tops of their heads and backs showing.

The Indian rhino is famous for appearing as though it is decked out in armoured plating due to the folds of skin crisscrossing its body. This figure does an excellent job of replicating that distinctive look, as well as the pebbled texture of the skin. The feet have the right number of digits and the tip of the muzzle is rounded like a black rhino’s as opposed that of to a white rhino, which has more of a square-shaped appearance. The small ears are perked, alert to any sound, which is essential considering that the Indian rhino, like all other rhinos, has very bad eyesight. Fortunately (or perhaps not so fortunately), the only predator in India big enough and powerful enough to take down an adult is the Bengal tiger.

Which brings us now to the horn on this rhino’s nose. Short, thick, and covered in grooves, it’s significantly smaller than the horns on black and white rhinos, yet still manages to look intimidating and dangerous. But as it so happens, the Indian rhino doesn’t employ its horn at all in combat, whether it’s against a tiger or another rhino. Instead, it fights with its lower incisors, which are large and blade-like. A great many Indian rhino toys have come out over the years, but only a couple have open mouths, and none feature any teeth at all. It sure would be nice to see one in the future that is sculpted in a fighting pose with its incisors bared.

The Schleich Indian rhinoceros is reasonably big, beautifully sculpted, and fun to play with, and thus unlikely to disappoint anyone. A worthy addition to your Asian menagerie.

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