Facts about Rhinoceros iguana. "Sientific name for is Cyclura cornuta". Massive in size, Rhinoceros iguana is among the lizards with a heavy body. The Rhinoceros iguana belongs to the genus Cyclura with its species and sub-species sharing the name cornut. It has several scales resembling Rhinoceros horns on is snout and this gave the iguana its common name. These horns are usually three of them and they occur in both sexes but they are more pronounced in males than in females. The Rhinoceros iguana is vulnerable to ecological disturbance and this brings about it being only limited to islands.
Physical appearance of Rhinoceros iguana
The Rhinoceros iguanas leathery skin is mostly grayish in color, but it may also be olive-green or even black in color due to the rough scales covering it. The Rhinoceros iguana crested body has spines running through its back from head to tail. Unlike most lizards, which weigh less than a pound (kilogram), a Rhinoceros iguana weighs an average of 13 pounds (6 kg). Its body length can measure up to 5 feet (1.2 meters).
Behavior of Rhinoceros iguana
Just other organisms belonging to the class reptila, rhinoceros iguana is active mostly during the day and rests during the night. During the morning hours or when the environmental temperatures are low, it basks in the sun keeping itself warm during the day when the sun is scorching it maintains its body temperature at normal by lying under shades. During the night, the Rhinoceros iguana shelter in cracks and crevices in the rocks or they can burrow into the soil. Male Rhinoceros iguana exhibit certain body and head movements to attract females and occasionally to threaten their predators. In addition, male Rhinoceros iguana are more similar to human socially and most of times they live in territories restricting females.
Geographical distribution of Rhinoceros iguana
The Rhinoceros iguana are commonly inhabiting dry areas with rocks, cactus, and areas with tall grasses such as the savannas. The rocks have a role in providing shelter to the iguanas. The Rhinoceros iguana is a native of Haiti and Dominican Republic. The species was initially found near coastlines but nowadays they have retreated away from it due to disturbances from humans.
Diet of Rhinoceros iguana
The Rhinoceros iguana is an omnivore but it feeds more on plant material such as waste vegetable matter, leaves, fruits, and flowers. Invertebrates such as insects and other small animals are preyed on to supplement the nutrient requirements of the reptile.
Reproduction of Rhinoceros iguana
The Rhinoceros iguana becomes sexually active and becomes mature enough after reaching a minimum age of five years. Both sexes will mate and approximately, after forty days, females will lay eggs. Depending on food availability, one female Rhinoceros iguana can lay five to twenty eggs. The eggs are then hidden in dugout burrows where they will hatch approximately after 160 days mainly during the month of august. The newly hatched Rhinoceros iguana measure about 7 inches (18 cm) in length, which will then live for about 20 years. It is believed that the first rainy season in April is a positive breeding factor for Rhinoceros iguana.
Predators and threats of Rhinoceros iguana
Most Rhinoceros iguana are threatened by environmental destruction and will tend to flee away. They are, however, important in the food chain as other animals such as, Feral dogs, pigs, mongoose and some carnivores for example cats predate them.