African black rhinos caught on camera 'kissing and cuddling' at night
New footage shot in Africa has revealed how the black rhinos enjoy regular night-time liaisons involving kisses, cuddles and a level of social interaction previously unknown in the species.
Famed for their grumpy, solitary lifestyles, socialising has never been known as a priority for rhinos.
New high definition cameras which function with nearly no light allowed the scientists to observe the animals in the dark for the first time, and discovered a boisterous personality trait that rarely appears during the daytime, the Daily Mail reported.
In footage captured for Sir David Attenborough's latest BBC wildlife series, Africa, 50 animals were revealed to be gathering in groups of up to 16 each night.
"For us to see this happening at night is extraordinary. It seems to be happening every night and we could see different individuals coming and going each night," Paul Brehem, who was the scientific adviser for the film crew, told the Sunday Telegraph.
"This hasn't really been documented or seen before. We thought the extent of their social interaction was individual males wandering around and searching out females to mate with," he said.
In the documentary, the animals rub noses, play together and communicate using a range of sounds including high pitched squeaks for calves, and loud bellows by the older adults.
In a sophisticated attempt to win the attention of a female, a young male picked up a pair of antelope horns with his own horns and gave them to her.
But the solicitation ends badly when the female snubs his advances by pretending to go to sleep.