Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Rhinoceros Iguana

Image: Joachim S. Müller
Cyclura cornuta
This is one lizard who is big enough and ugly enough to look after itself!

The Rhinoceros Iguana is a big, ugly lizard from the island of Hispaniola, which is the one that has Haiti and the Dominican Republic on it.

Image: Gerald Schneider
The iguanas can be seen walking around in dry, rocky areas near the coast, where they look for leaves, fruits, flowers and seeds to eat. They'll occasionally feed on insects, small lizards and carrion, though. Those kind of vegetarians...

Image: Bernard DUPONT
Rhinoceros Iguanas can reach well over a metre (3.3 feet) long and clearly get their name from the collection of small horns that adorn their snout. But there's so much more to them than that!

Image: David Hill
Take a look at their... "crest" kind of thing. It's not the colourful monument to the prowess of their gonads that you'd expect, it's a kind of bulbous, fatty helmet.

Image: melanie cook
Then there's another pair of rudely bulging curios on their neck.

Image: Joachim S. Müller
And if you look them in the eye you can't help but notice a hole array of spikes jutting out of their face.

Then, being an iguana, they also have a nice, spiky crest running all the way down their body, a scraggly dewlap dangling from their throat and delightful wrinkles all over their neck and sides.

Image: ronsavage
Aside from the bits that bulge, they're as craggy as the rocks they live on!

Video: Robert Kempton
Look how friendly he is!

Rhinoceros Iguanas learn about their dry, rocky habitat from an early age. While males fight over territory, females lay their eggs in nests they dig out in sand. They guard them for a few days but the eggs won't hatch for three months.

Image: Tim Strater
Is it just me, or does the wisdom of the ages emanate from that face?
Iguanas like this have some of the longest lifespans of any lizard and they can go on for several decades. That might explain some of that wrinkly, scraggly cragginess!


TexWisGirl said...

pretty cool / ugly thing!

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

It's wonderful to see cool and ugly stand side by side!

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