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Animal Facts

  • Genus:

    Cyclura
  • Species:

    Cornuta
  • Conservation
    Status:

    Vulnerable

  • Found In:

    Haiti and Dominican Republic
  • Length:

    up to 56 cm, excluding tails
  • Weight:

    up to 10kg

Meet our reptilian rhinos!

While you may think Rhinoceros Iguanas get their name from their heavy build and thick, scaly skin, it actually comes from a series of protruding scales on the end of their snout that, especially in males, resemble the horns of a rhino.

Adelaide Zoo is home to two splendid Rhinoceros Iguanas, Ziggy and Stardust, who were born at Taronga Zoo in 2007. The pair have called Adelaide Zoo home since May 2016.

When the two reptilian friends aren’t using their tongues to smell, taste and feel their way around their exhibit, they can be found munching on some very healthy leafy greens and their favourite snack, grapes!

Like people, Rhinoceros Iguanas love a tropical paradise, living in the sunny nations of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, as well as many of the smaller, surrounding Caribbean islands. Don’t expect to find them lazing on the beach though! While they can live in a number of different habitats, these guys prefer drier, rockier terrain in coastal areas where their grey-brown colouring helps them blend into the stone.

These massive lizards enjoy a mostly vegetarian diet, feeding on plants and seeds, although they will eat insects and carrion when they can find it. Breeding happens once a year, with females laying a clutch of up to 34 eggs into a nest dug deep in the sand. The mothers may then guard the eggs until they hatch 85 days later, after which the baby iguanas are left to fend for themselves.

Sadly, the plight of Rhinoceros Iguanas in the wild is getting worse. It’s estimated that around 35 per cent of the iguanas’ habitat in the Dominican Republic has been completely destroyed due to logging, mining and agriculture. The habitat that does remain is severely fragmented. Rhinoceros Iguanas also face predation from feral animals such as dogs, cats, pigs and mongooses.

Love Rhino Iguanas? Join our lounge of lizards and help us ensure all reptiles stay ahead of extinction. There are many ways you can help support these remarkable reptiles. 

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About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

 

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