The rhinoceros iguana's name is derived from the three horny lumps on the top of its snout, which are much less conspicuous in the female than in the male. It has strong legs that enable it to walk with its body well elevated from the ground. This powerful lizard's body is quite stout and is crested with a row of spines along the back.
Vigorous head-bobbing is an important signal in iguana society. High territorial vantage points mean that a head-bob signal can be seen by all iguanas in the area.
These large lizards are entirely vegetarian, living on a diet of fruits, leaves and flowers.
The rhinoceros iguana lives in tropical dry forest in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It spends its day eating and basking in the sun, retreating into its hollow trunk or cave burrow at night. Males are territorial, keeping watch from sunbathing spots on top of large rocks or in tall trees.
This species of lizard is classified as Vulnerable in the wild. 35% of the rhinoceros iguana’s original habitat has been lost since the 1950s, due to forest clearing for firewood. As a result the species is now protected.
Bristol Zoo’s rhinoceros iguanas bred for the first time in 2009 and we successfully hatched out 17 youngsters.
Rhinoceros iguanas are a EAZA European Studbook species (ESB), and Bristol Zoo works hard together with other European zoos to continue the population of rhinoceros iguanas in human care.
There are ten different species of rock iguana throughout the Caribbean. All are threatened or endangered in some way according to the IUCN.
You can find our rhinoceros iguana in the Reptile House, near Twilight World and the Aquarium
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