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How to Care* for Your Rhino Iguana

How to Care* for Your Rhino Iguana


Rhino Iguanas (Cyclura cornuta) are very large (up to 4 1/2’), diurnal, terrestrial reptiles native to the Caribbean , specifically Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Rhino Iguanas are generally dull colored gray, beige, or greenish.  Males are notable for the horn-like projection above their noses which resembles a rhinoceros horn and gives them their common name.They are considered to be advanced level pets due to their size. 


Adult Rhino Iguanas require an enclosure with a minimal size of 8’x4’x3’ tallAlthough these lizards are primarily terrestrial, they often climb to bask so they require sturdy branches to enable them get close enough to the heat and light source for  basking. Given the size of the adult Rhino Iguana, the most appropriate enclosure will either be a large wood frame and wire structure or a walk-in closet or small room adapted as an iguana cage.The substrate can be newspaper, reptile carpet or eco earth.  Some keepers recommend cypress mulch, though others express concern about the possibility that the reptile will ingest it.  The cage should include a large water bowl that the iguana may want to soak in, a food bowl and a box large enough for the iguana to use as a hide.  In order to maintain humidity, the iguana should be misted periodically.  Care should be taken to insure that the cage is set up to minimize the chance of the substrate being ingested. This can be accomplished by providing an appropriate sized bowl for food or placing the food in an area of the enclosure that’s substrate free.

Heating and Lighting

Rhino Iguanas require a basking area with temperatures of 100-115 degrees F.  Basking lamps are often placed toward the top of the enclosure with a shelf or branch that would allow the lizard to be about 12” below the light when basking.  In addition, a full spectrum light is required to provide the lizard with UV.  Due to the iguana’s size, a group of 3-4 lights may be required to provide adequate heat and light. The air temperature in the remainder of the enclosure should range from the high 80’sF on the hot side to the high 70’s on the cool side.  Temperature can drop at night but should not go below the mid 60’s.  In some climates, Rhino Iguanas may require supplemental heat in the winter.

Food and Supplementation

Rhino Iguanas are entirely fruit and vegetable eaters and do not eat any appreciable number of insects or worms.  Their diet should consist primarily of healthy green leafy vegetables (not lettuce) and other vegetables such as squash, peppers and green beans as well as flowers such as dandelions and hibiscus.  Fruit is also appreciated but should be a relatively minor component of the diet.  It is important to maintain a low protein diet for Rhino Iguanas. Food should be dusted with calcium and vitamin D3.   Rhino Iguanas should be fed every day.  Their fruits and vegetables should be chopped, well mixed and served in a substrate free environment.

*This care sheet contains only very basic information.  If you are new to Rhino Iguanas, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.

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