Rhinoceros Iguana

Rhinoceros Iguana

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: rhinoceros iguana, rhino iguana
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Iguanidae
GENUS SPECIES: Cyclura (round tail) cornuta (horned)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Large, heavy-bodied lizard with a uniform gray body; males have 3 horn-like protrusions on their head
SIZE: Total body length of up to 1.2 m (4.5 ft.)
WEIGHT: 4.5-9 kg (10-20 lb.)
DIET: Omnivores, will eat a wide assortment of vegetable matter, invertebrates, small mammals and birds
INCUBATION: 75-100 days
CLUTCH SIZE 15-20 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: 2-3 years
LIFE SPAN: Up to 20 years or more
RANGE: Haiti and adjacent islands
HABITAT: Dry rocky areas and savannas
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN No data
CITES Appendix I
USFWS No data

FUN FACTS

1. Rhino iguanas are much more terrestrial than the green iguanas which allows them to live in rockier and drier areas. They are rarely found in trees or even forested areas.
2. Rhino iguanas get their name because of horn-like structures that are found on the heads of males. It is not known if these structures serve any purpose, but may aid in courtship.
3. Male iguanas go through elaborate courtship behaviors of head bobbing and erecting the spines along the back. Normally, iguanas are quite timid and will flee if approached, but during courtship the males can be quite aggressive.
4. The rhino iguana is not as long as the more common green iguana, but can be over twice the weight.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Because their populations are restricted to islands, rhino iguanas are especially vulnerable to environmental as well as manmade disturbances. Iguanas are often eaten as food because their accessibility and the relatively poor economic status of the people in these islands. The iguanas are protected from wide-scale release in the pet trade and zoos are playing an integral role in the conservation of this species.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. New York: Facts on File Publications, Inc., 1989.

Rogner, Manfred. Lizards. Vol. 2. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Co., 1994.

Wynne, Richard H. Lizards in Captivity. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1981.