Rhinoceros Iguana Lifespan | How Long Do Rhinoceros Iguanas Live?

how long do rhinoceros iguanas live? A Rhinoceros iguanas lifespan is a major factor one needs to consider before bringing one home as a pet. The very large lizards have lifespans that are typically much longer than most pet lizards. But what is the typical lifespan of a Rhinoceros iguana in captivity? 

The average rhinoceros lifespan is about 20-25 years in captivity. That said, there have been reports of rhinoceros iguanas living as long as 40 years in some cases. Either way, the lifespan of a rhinoceros iguana is quite long compared to most pet lizards. 

However, keeping an iguana in captivity and healthy for this length of time requires preparation and knowledge. In this article, you will learn about the life span of the Rhinoceros Iguana and factors that can affect the lifespan of the Rhinoceros Iguana. 

Average Rhinoceros Iguana Lifespan In Captivity 

The average lifespan of the Rhinoceros Iguana is approximately 20-25 years with proper care. Of course, there have been rhinoceros iguanas that have had a lifespan of close to 40 years. 

If you consider this reptile as a pet, you may be breathing a sigh of relief that it will not be a short-term pet, but you need to consider several things when it comes to keeping a Rhinoceros Iguana.  

It is unlikely that you will find a Rhinoceros Iguana over the age of 10 years in the wild because of the natural dangers they face in their habitat. Because of this, the Rhinoceros Iguana is nearing extinction in the natural habitat. 

It is very important that you purchase a captive breed rhinoceros iguana. This means that it was bred in captivity and not wild-caught.

The last thing we need to do is keep a wild-caught reptile that is facing potential extinction. On top of that, a captive-bred rhinoceros iguana will also likely have a longer lifespan than wild-caught iguanas. 

Factors That Can Affect the Rhinoceros Iguana Lifespan

Knowing that a Rhinoceros Iguana has a rather long lifespan means that you need to be able to commit the proper amount of time and resources to ensure your pet has the best possible life.  To do this, you need to be very keenly aware of the habitat needs, diet, and health problems that could impact the iguana during their lifetime. 

Why Choosing A Good Breeder Can Affect Rhinoceros Iguana Lifespan

As previously stated, getting a captive-bred rhinoceros iguana can have an impact on their lifespan. The first step when choosing a pet reptile is finding a good breeder and picking a healthy reptile from the start.

You want to examine your rhinoceros iguana for both good and bad health signs.  The first thing you want to make sure of is that the iguana seems to be active and alert.

This is especially true if you are purchasing a baby rhinoceros iguana. If they seem sickly or lethargic this is a good sign that you should look elsewhere.  Examine every inch of the rhinoceros iguana.

Make sure they have clear eyes and there are no signs of runoff. Check their vent ( which is their private area ) to make sure that there is no build-up or other signs of bad health. A good examination before a purchase is very important if you want a rhinoceros iguana with a long healthy life. 

Habitat Can Affect The Lifespan Of Rhinoceros Iguanas

When preparing to keep a Rhinoceros Iguana, you must provide a habitat that is as like nature as possible.  This will help ensure your Rhinoceros Iguana remains comfortable in his or her new home. 

Important considerations when looking at an iguana habitat include lighting, temperature, and humidity. Rhinoceros Iguanas are found in Haiti and The Dominican Republic, where they prefer the dry climate. 

Unlike other species of iguanas, the rhino iguana prefers to live on rocky land where there is scrub brush present.  Typically, they can be found near the ocean, but you will not find them in the tropics.


  • UVB lighting is essential to keeping the iguana healthy. This type of light will mimic the natural sunlight iguanas are used to.  It allows their bodies to absorb nutrients from the sunlight appropriately and encourages the continued production of vitamin D3.
  • You can expect to spend between $12 -$100 on proper lighting. The lower end will be for a bulb purchase only, while the upper end will provide an entire habitat light system. 
  • It would be best if you had a backup bulb on hand to replace a bulb that unexpectedly burns out.  The last thing you want to do is expose your iguana to conditions that could be detrimental to their health. 


  • While iguanas do not live in tropical conditions, they need a warm climate to survive and thrive.  
  • The Rhino Iguana prefers to be in temperatures that range from 8-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime along with a basking spot that reaches 95 degrees.
  • It is best to have the temperature set from 68 -73 degrees to simulate a nighttime environment. 
  • It is important to factor in the material your habitat is made from because materials hold heat differently.  To ensure your iguana is in a temperate environment, you must have a quality thermometer to track the temperature. 


  • The level of humidity in your Rhino Iguana’s cage will help keep him or her comfortable.  It is recommended that the humidity level be maintained between 65%-80%.
  • Proper humidity is important to maintain the health of your iguana.  This allows the iguana to shed its skin easily and helps prevent other body injuries from occurring.  You should monitor this with a proper gauge.

Diet and Rhinoceros Iguana Lifespan 

Once you have a proper habitat for your Rhinoceros Iguana, you need to provide the correct nourishment.  Because the iguana is not in the wild, You must provide the right nutrients and vitamins. 

This will help ensure a long and healthy life.  Rhino Iguanas belong to the classification of omnivores but mostly eat plants.  This means they will eat both plants and animals. In the wild, they are known to eat flowers, plants, and occasionally even small mammals.

That said, in captivity, they should pretty much be fed a purely vegetarian diet. The best foods to feed your iguana in captivity are greens, vegetables, fruits, fiber, and squash. Greens are going to be a large part of your iguana’s diet. 

These can come in the form of collard greens or mustard greens, and even dandelion greens.  You may also wish to provide kale and lettuces or endive in small amounts.  

Rhinoceros Iguanas Need Lots Of Nutrient Dense Veggies

Vegetables are important for the iguana to provide certain vitamins and nutrients. Some of the best vegetables are snap-peas, green beans, and bell peppers.  You may also wish to mix in an occasional serving of beets or carrots.  Iguanas love fruits. 

Some of their favorites are papaya, mango, raspberries, blueberries, and even figs. You can offer small treats of bananas, strawberries, and grapes, but they should not be considered staples in their diet. Make sure that 80 percent of their diet comes in the form of greens and veggies.  

*Note: Rhinoceros iguana can be fed a wide variety of fruits and veggies. Just make sure you do your research and make sure the fruit or veggie is safe first.  Squash is often thought of as a vegetable, but it is in its class when it comes to iguanas. 

The best squash to give to your iguana is acorn, pumpkin, or spaghetti squash.  This should be delivered in small amounts and can be supplemented with zucchini in small quantities. 


While Rhinoceros Iguanas can have various foods, it is also important that they receive supplements to make sure they have the proper nutrients to maintain their health.  The most important supplements will be calcium and a specific iguana vitamin mix.  The amount to give depends on the age of your iguana.

Common Health Problems That Can Result In Shortened Lifespan 

Some of the most common ailments that can shorten a Rhinoceros iguanas lifespan include:

Health Concern Symptoms Treatment
Bladder Stones (Source: Long Beach Animal Hospital) Often asymptomatic. However, they can become lethargic and stop eating The only way to treat a bladder stone in an iguana is by surgery. 
Abscesses Hard or fluid-filled lump under the skin.Lethargy, Loss of appetite, fever Call a veterinarian to clean any abscesses. Do not try and do this yourself.
Dehydration A fold of skin along the body of the iguana (very noticeable)weakness You must provide electrolytes slowly by mouth.  You may need to soak your iguana in the warm solution if they do not drink.
Metabolic Bone Disease Knobs in the leg bonesBumps on the back and tailConstipationlethargy calcium injections alteration to the habitat to ensure proper lighting and heat. 

If you notice your iguana exhibiting any symptoms of feeling unwell and do not feel like home treatment is effective, you need to seek the help of a professional.  Taking too much time to problem solve on your own could cause the iguana to become very unwell and may even lead to death. 

Final Thoughts

Rhinoceros Iguanas are great pets to have but they do get very large and have long lifespans. You also need to consider the fact that Rhinoceros iguanas are giant-sized lizards that are capable of harming humans.

Be aware of the medical conditions that could afflict your iguana and seek medical help when needed.  By doing these things, you may have your pet iguana for up to twenty years. For more on rhinoceros iguanas check out my complete Rhinoceros Iguana Care Guide

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