Animal Diaries Archive
Rhino The Iguana that is
20 April 2007
Hi my name is Jeremy and I have been working here at Australia Zoo for just over three years, and I’m having a great time currently working along side six other keeper's on the Reptile Department.
My favourite reptile here at Australia Zoo is a large lizard called "Rhino", and he is a Rhinoceros Iguana. He gets his name from the three horn like growths on the end of his snout, and he is also heavy bodied and grey to olive in colour. Rhino was born in 1978 at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, which means he is the ripe old age of twenty nine years. And that's pretty old for a Rhino Iguana, I guess old age has made him a lot more mellow as now days he seems to enjoy an occasional scratch on the top of his head and neck. I have heard some funny stories from other keeper's who use to look after him a few years ago, and that in his younger day's he was very "cheeky" and would chase the keeper's around his enclosure. At time's Rhino would be so fast chasing the keeper's, all they could do to get out of his way was to high jump over the tall brick wall of his enclosure, falling in a heap over the other side with their hearts racing.
The Rhinoceros Iguana is actually native to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and several surrounding West Indian islands in the Caribbean sea. They are classed as an endangered species due to introduced animals to the islands and habitat destruction. Rhinoceros Iguana's are primarily herbivores eating fruit, leaves and flowers but will occasionally supplement their diet with eating insects and other larger prey items. "Rhino" the Rhinoceros Iguana lizard that is, can be found at the front of the zoo, as you come through the main entrance. So on your next visit to Australia zoo come over to Rhino's enclosure and say hello, and remember - Reptiles RULE!