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Home » Rhinoceros Iguana Care – Information, Enclosure, Diet & Health

Rhinoceros Iguana Care – Information, Enclosure, Diet & Health

The Rhinoceros iguana (Cyclura cornuta) is a remarkable and endangered species of iguana endemic to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Known for their large size and unique appearance, these iguanas vary in length from 60 to 136 centimeters (24 to 54 inches) and exhibit skin colors ranging from steely grey to dark green and brown. Named after the bony-plated pseudo-horns on their heads, Rhino iguanas make for unique exotic pets that fascinate reptile enthusiasts worldwide.

Rhinoceros Iguana

Rhinoceros Iguana Care Sheet

Common nameRhinoceros iguana
Scientific nameCyclura cornuta
Lifespan16.7 years or more; may live longer in captivity
Size as adult60 to 136 centimeters (24 to 54 inches)
WeightVaries based on size and gender
DietPrimarily herbivorous
Enclosure size requirementsSpacious enclosure to accommodate their size
Enclosure temperature requirementsBasking area: 90-95°F (32-35°C); Cooler area: 75-85°F (24-29°C)
Humidity requirementsModerate to low humidity; dry environment

Husbandry: Enclosure Requirements

Providing a suitable enclosure is crucial for the well-being of Rhinoceros iguanas. As these iguanas grow large, a spacious enclosure is essential. The enclosure should allow them to move around comfortably, climb, and exhibit natural behaviors. A recommended enclosure size for an adult Rhinoceros iguana is at least 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 6 feet tall.

Maintaining proper temperature and lighting conditions is vital. A basking area with a temperature ranging from 90-95°F (32-35°C) during the day should be provided, while a cooler area that remains around 75-85°F (24-29°C) allows for thermoregulation. Full-spectrum UVB lighting should be provided to support vitamin D3 synthesis and calcium metabolism.

It’s important to create a dry environment with moderate to low humidity levels. Good ventilation is necessary to prevent stagnant air and excessive humidity levels that can lead to respiratory issues. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure are essential to ensure a hygienic and healthy living space for the Rhinoceros iguana.

Dietary Needs and Feeding Schedule

Rhinoceros iguanas are primarily herbivorous, with their diet consisting mainly of vegetables, vegetation, and occasional fruits. A balanced and varied diet is crucial to meet their nutritional requirements.

Suitable food options include peppers, dandelions, mustard greens, squash, okra, papaya, pears, and other plant-based foods. It’s important to provide a calcium supplement to maintain a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.

Feeding should be done daily, offering fresh food and ensuring a diverse range of greens and vegetables. Water should be provided in a shallow bowl, and it’s essential to monitor their hydration regularly.

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Things to Consider

Taming and Handling:

Rhinoceros iguanas can be more terrestrial compared to other species of iguanas. They may not enjoy being handled as much and can display territorial behavior, especially in males. Taming and handling should be approached with caution and respect for the iguana’s comfort and well-being.

Costs and Maintenance:

Owning a Rhinoceros iguana comes with certain costs. Apart from the initial investment in a suitable enclosure and habitat setup, there are ongoing expenses for food, lighting, and veterinary care. Additionally, maintaining proper temperature, humidity, and cleanliness in the enclosure requires regular monitoring and attention.

Rhino Iguanas vs Green Iguanas

Rhino Iguanas are a type of Rock Iguana and are known for their unique appearance with bony-plated pseudo-horns on their snouts. Green iguanas, on the other hand, are more arboreal and have a sleeker body shape. They are named for their vibrant green coloration, which can vary.

In terms of temperament, rhino iguanas are generally considered to be more docile compared to green iguanas, which can exhibit more aggressive behavior, especially during mating season.

Both species require spacious enclosures with appropriate heating, lighting, and humidity levels. While rhinoceros iguanas have an omnivorous diet that includes vegetation and small animal matter, green iguanas are primarily herbivorous.

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