Rhinoceros iguanas are one of the largest-sized lizards you can own as a pet. Though Rhinoceros iguanas might not be as long as green iguanas they make up for it in weight. But just how big do Rhinoceros iguanas get?
Rhinoceros iguana size can range anywhere from 2 to 4 ½-feet in length and weigh as much as 20 lbs. Female rhinoceros iguanas are smaller than males, but both male and female rhinoceros iguanas will weigh more than green iguanas.
So as you can see rhinoceros iguanas are very large lizards that do require the right owner. Since they are so large I would not recommend them to most people. Though I would consider them a better option than the more popular green iguana, they should only be considered by advanced reptile keepers.
When purchasing a rhinoceros iguana, there are a few things you will need to consider about caring for your new reptile friend. The biggest is whether or not you are prepared to deal with the sheer size of a Rhinoceros iguana.
How Big Do Rhinoceros Iguanas Get In Captivity?
A rhinoceros iguana will be anywhere from 10-20 pounds once it matures, and it can grow up to 5 feet long in some cases. A rhinoceros iguana will take 5-9 years to fully mature and can live 15 years in the wild and over 20 years with careful human care.
Of course, rhinoceros iguana size can vary quite a bit depending on your lizard. But you should expect that they will grow to be very large lizards.
If you want a smaller rhinoceros iguana then I would suggest going with a female over a male. Both are still very large, but males are considerably larger than females.
Size Differences Between Male and Female Rhinoceros Iguanas
Male rhinoceros iguanas are bigger than females. Females tend to weigh less and have more slender bodies, while males tend to develop large jowls and dewlaps.
That said, the size of a rhinoceros iguana whether male or female is still quite large. Typically, a female will grow closer to 3 feet in length whereas males will typically exceed 4 feet in length. Males will also weigh considerably more as well.
Are Rhinoceros Iguanas Larger Than the Green Iguanas?
Rhinoceros iguanas can grow up to 4.5 feet long, while a green iguana can grow up to 6 ½ ft long. While green iguanas grow longer than rhinoceros iguanas, they do weigh considerably less.
The average weight of an adult rhinoceros iguana is between 10 and 20 pounds, while that of a green iguana is 10 – 15 lbs. So rhinoceros iguanas are bigger than green iguanas but not as long.
Green iguanas tend to be longer than rhinoceros iguanas. But a Rhinoceros iguana might weigh twice as much as a green iguana.
Of course, both are very large lizards and should only be considered by someone that is advanced and has the space needed to house one of these large-sized lizards.
Rhinoceros Iguana Enclosure Size
For the first six months of your rhinoceros iguana’s life, you can keep it in a smaller enclosure. But as your iguana grows, its habitat will need to grow with it.
If you are going to have a rhinoceros iguana, you can count on a rather large and heavy reptile. You’ll need to find them a habitat that they can grow into – or size up as your rhinoceros iguana grows.
This table shows you the right enclosure for your Iguanas size and age.
|Age or Size
|Size of Enclosure (Minimum)
|0-6 Months (under 12 inches)
|2′ long x 2 ½’ wide x 3′ high
|Repti Zoo Reptile Terrarium
|6 months (up to 2 ½ feet)
|3′ long x 2 ½’ wide x 4′ high
|Zoo Med Iguanarium
|2 ½ ft +
|8′ long x 4′ wide x 4′ high
|D.I.Y Rhino Enclosure
Starting with a large cage is your best bet to accommodate a rhinoceros iguana. They not only grow quite large, but they live a long time, so developing a comfortable habitat they can mature into is important.
Rhinoceros Iguana Size: Is It Too Large To Handle?
There are some things to consider before purchasing any large lizard, such as environmental needs, proper care and handling, and how to ensure a healthy diet.
Large lizards like the rhinoceros iguana should only be considered by advanced keepers. The last thing you want is to get stuck with a large powerful lizard that you wish you never purchased.
A larger-sized lizard has the potential to be more dangerous than a smaller-sized pet lizard. That said, for the right person, the rhinoceros iguana can be a great pet. In fact, they even make my list of the top 9 giant pet lizards.
Just remember the size of a rhinoceros iguana makes them more dangerous. So make sure that you are ready to meet their needs and have some experience keeping reptiles. This is especially true if you have small children or other pets in the house.
Are Rhinoceros Iguanas Aggressive
The rhinoceros iguana can have a nervous temperament. It is not naturally trusting and will run and hide rather than face down a human at first.
They are not as aggressive as green iguanas but can still show aggressive behaviors. For this reason, I would only suggest the rhinoceros iguana to an experienced owner.
Signs Of Rhinoceros Iguana Aggression
- When rhinoceros iguanas feel threatened their first response is to run and hide.
- When the rhinoceros iguana is cornered with no place to hide, it can be provoked to bite with sharp teeth and strike with its thick, heavy tail.
- With other rhinoceros iguanas, the males are territorial and will not shy away from a fight. They use horns and tails in intimidation displays and will come to fight with teeth and tails when aggression is unavoidable.
A baby iguana is going to need time to warm up to you, so you should give it a few months to acclimate. In the beginning, it’s good to be around the enclosure while doing your own everyday tasks like cleaning or working.
This gives your pet the ability to get used to seeing you in a non-threatening manner. After talking to your iguana, feeding it, and maintaining its enclosure, it will start to warm up and come to you. This is the time to start petting and picking up your iguana.
You will want to take the time to let your iguana get comfortable with being around you because once it does, it will be more than happy to follow you around the house and be in your company.
These Large Lizards Also Have Large Appetites
Rhinoceros iguanas are very large so naturally, they will eat a lot of food. Rhinoceros iguanas are mostly herbivores. Their diet mainly includes:
- Plants – dark, leafy greens and green veggies should be the majority of the diet
- Fruits – Such as apples, bananas, strawberries, mangos, cantaloupe, etc.
Consult your vet for a list of safe foods and those that should be avoided. Young iguanas will need to eat every day, but older iguanas can eat every other day. Always have fresh, clean water available to your iguana.
Is the Rhinoceros Iguana The Best Large Sized Lizard
When it comes to large lizards there are better and worse options than the Rhinoceros iguana. All large lizards however are going to come with their own set of difficulties.
If you are looking for a large-sized lizard my number one pick would be the Argentine black and white tegu. By large I am talking about lizards that can get over 4 feet long.
So no I would not consider the Rhinoceros iguana to be the best large-sized lizard to purchase. That said, they are in my opinion a better option than the more popular green iguana.