The duration of delivery is short, usually lasting between one and three hours. Births often take place at night or in the early morning. It is not necessary to observe the birth, but if that is the case it is recommended to watch remotely on a TV monitor. Distocia is very rare.

Click here for an example birthing plan for female rhino Ema Elsa at Chester Zoo.

Indicators prior to birth:

30 days: the female Black rhino teat size may increase and milk production begins.When pressure is put on the teats milk may be expended. It might be that the female prolapses vaginally when defecating.

14 days: the nipples of the female Black rhino may enlarge and the nipples depevlop wax plugs. The vulva will start swellin as well.

24 to 48 hours: The female Black rhino becomes irritable and aggressive to stimuli, including to the staff, also she may lose her appetite. The udder will dramatically increase in size; mucus plug forms and increased vulva dilation occurs. The female will lie down more often and is restless. Other behaviour shown may be urination.

Additionally, if daily hormone analysis is performed leading up to birth, a drop in progesterone metabolite concentration can precede parturition by 24 – 48 hours, allowing prediction of parturition in cases where this may be deemed necessary (see graph below).

Example hormone profiles of a single Black rhinoceros pregnancy, in this case lasting 449 days. (b) At three months, progesterone concentration increases dramatically, and can be 10-20 fold higher than peak cycling concentrations. Parturition was predicted using hormone analyses as progesterone metabolite concentrations dropped 24 hours prior to parturition.

Example hormone profiles of a single Black rhinoceros pregnancy, in this case lasting 449 days. (b) At three months, progesterone concentration increases dramatically, and can be 10-20 fold higher than peak cycling concentrations. Parturition was predicted using hormone analyses as progesterone metabolite concentrations dropped 24 hours prior to parturition.

 

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