split image of rhino iguana eating leaves and side profile

A rhino iguana residing at Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia, has reached the remarkable age of 40 years 278 days (as of 27 November 2020), making him the oldest living rhino iguana in captivity.

Owned by the Irwin family, Australia Zoo celebrated the achievement of the aptly named Rhino (b. 23 February 1980) with a certificate presentation in his enclosure.   

Rhino was born at Taronga Zoo in Sydney before being transferred to Australia Zoo on 23 November 1993.

This almost doubles the age of the previous greatest lifespan on record.

Rhino iguanas are native to the Caribbean, where they are found largely on the island of Hispaniola (shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti). 

rhino iguana eating hibiscus flower

Their name comes from a "pseudo-horn" (which in fact is a scaly outgrowth) found on their snouts that is reminiscent of a rhinoceros' distinguishing feature. 

This "horn" is more prominent in males. 

It is not known for certain what purpose the "horn" serves, but may it be for attracting mates during head-bobbing displays as well as fighting between males.

rhino iguana side on profile with green leaves in background

The average lifespan for the rhino iguana in captivity is considered to be around 16 or 17 years, though some researchers believe that in the wild it could be possible for them to live to 75-80 years old!

Rhino joins a fellow record-breaking animal that can be found at Australia Zoo - Forest, the tallest giraffe.

Forest, a 12-year-old male, stands at a towering 5.7 m (18 ft 8 in).


It's not just the animals at Australia Zoo that hold records, though - Bindi Irwin, Steve Irwin's daughter, is the most followed TV naturalist/conservationist on Instagram with 4,134,440 followers (correct as of 24 November 2020).

She took her record back from David Attenborough, as his account is no longer active following his last post on 31 October 2020.

Image credit: Australia Zoo