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Fluid and particle retention times in the black rhinocerosDiceros bicornis, a large hindgut-fermenting browser


The mean retention time (MRT) of ingesta in the gastrointestinal tract is one of the major determinants of herbivore digestive physiology. We examined MRTs of fluids and particles in the gastrointestinal tract of six adult captive black rhinocerosesDiceros bicornis on conventional zoo diets. Fluid MRT ranged from 25–45 h and averaged 31 h. Particle MRT ranged from 28–59 h and averaged 38 h. In the six animals, both fluid and particle MRT declined as relative dry matter intake (g/kg metabolic body mass) increased. Black rhinoceroses, which are large hindgut-fermenting browsers, retained ingesta for a shorter period relative to their body size than grazing equids or grazing rhinoceros species. Our findings support the hypothesis that browsing hindgut fermenters have relatively shorter MRTs than grazing hindgut fermenters.

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Associate Editor was Krzysztof Schmidt.

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Clauss, M., Froeschle, T., Castell, J. et al. Fluid and particle retention times in the black rhinocerosDiceros bicornis, a large hindgut-fermenting browser. Acta Theriol 50, 367–376 (2005).

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Key words

  • mean retention time
  • passage rate
  • grazer
  • browser
  • rhinoceros