The rhino: iconic species, symbol of brute strength, master of ... whining?! Of all the noises you might expect to come out of such a large creature, the plaintive squeak of a deflating balloon is definitely not one of them.  

The video comes our way from Working With Rhinos, an organisation dedicated to rehabilitating orphaned rhinos who've lost their mothers to poaching. The three hungry babies, and many more just like them, are currently receiving lots of TLC at the Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa.

The high-pitched wails might sound like crying (and that's how some reports have described them), but what you're hearing is actually the rhino version of "Marco Polo" – it's what a mother rhino might hear in the wild from a healthy, happy baby. A female calls her calf with a high-pitched mew, and the youngster responds with a squeal – just like the ones in the video. In this case, the fussy rhino babies are hoping their human "moms" will come back with more food (forget Hungry, Hungry Hippos, really ravenous rhinos take hangry to a whole new level). 

Rhinos put on a lot of weight in their first few months of life – and all that growing requires many gallons of milk each day. The supersized babies can weigh upwards of 140 pounds (64kg) at birth, and in the wild, they'll drink their mothers' milk for their first 18 months, while also learning how to graze.

For more info on the orphan victims of South Africa's rhino poaching crisis – and the dedicated teams of people working to save them – check out this video:


Top header image: Valentina Storti, Flickr