The Rhinoceros Iguana gets its name from its outgrowths, like horns, on the end of it's nose. These large, heavy bodied lizards are dusky- grey or olive green with dark cross bands that are often barely visible. They have three horny bumps on the snout, which are more pronounced in males. The average adult is 2 feet in length (snout to vent).
The Rhinoceros Iguana is native to the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and The Dominican Republic) and several surrounding West Indian Islands. These iguanas live in areas of open scrub, among rocks and cactus thickets. They can also be found in dry forests to subtropical moist forests. This species is primarily found near coastlines, however, human expansion has forced many populations to retreat further inland. These iguanas are active during the day, spending the nights in rock crevices and dug out burrows.
Mature iguanas are primarily herbivores, eating fruit, leaves and flowers. They will occasionally supplement their diets with insects and larger prey items.
The Rhinoceros Iguana becomes sexually mature between the ages of 5-9. The breeding season of the Rhinoceros Iguana is in April and the eggs are laid about 40 days after mating. The female will dig a nest cavity in the sand and she will lay as many as 16 eggs at one time. Rhinoceros Iguanas are independent from birth. Females only breed once per year.
Rhino Iguana Profiles
I'd like to introduce you to Jacko, one of our beautiful Rhinoceros Iguanas. These guys belong to a group of large ground-dwelling iguanas found on a number of different islands throughout the West Indies. As a group, these animals, the West Indian Rock Iguanas, are known as the most endangered lizards on the face of the earth. Jacko is the currently sixteen years of age, he'll live until about the age of forty years and weigh up to 10 kg (he's still got plenty of growing to do!). Jacko lives with two female Rhinoceros Iguanas, and I'm telling you, he is a real character. He definitely makes sure we know who’s the boss when we enter his home, through his displays of head bobbing, reminding us that the two girls he lives with are taken. What a funny bloke - Perhaps he feels as though there's a bit of competition.
Pinko was born here at Australia Zoo and spent the first four and a half years of her life in our lizard room, (a temperature-controlled room created especially for young lizards to grow up in). Since then she has moved out into a much larger area with another three Rhinoceros Iguanas; Pinko is by far the most shy. If you do make an effort to spend a bit of time with her, this lovely little lizard’s affectionate nature really comes through.