Rhinoceros Iguanas are endemic animals in the Dominican Republic

Why do Rhinoceros iguana from Laguna de Oviedo like sweet cherries so much? 🍒

But how to reach these iguana islands?

The water of Laguna de Oviedo is hypersaline and has a three times higher concentration of salt than regular sea water.

Swimming is definitely a bad idea. The islands are too far away. Your skin and eyes irritate very easily inside of the water. Not a joy.

Water from Laguna de Oviedo in the Dominican Republic
This water is three times saltier than sea water

You definitely need a boat!

I have had the privilege to the a guided excursion with a very experienced and knowledgeable guide called Saturnino. He knows the Jaragua National Park and Laguna de Oviedo like the back of his hand and was born and raised in that area. Definitely a man you need for that type of adventure and excursion.

Boat trip on Laguna de Oviedo at Jaragua National Park

Let’s feed the Rhinoceros iguanas

Okay. Your interest got sparked from the title. It was promised to share a guide how to feed iguanas and answer the question with the cherries 🍒 Now the time finally has come!

Saturnino told me, that iguanas are mostly mavericks and don’t live as a pack/herd and are rather shy animals. Male Rhinoceros Iguanas even tend to mark their territory and defend it against other Male Rhinoceros Iguanas.

Thus, I was surprised that approximately 15 – 20 Rhinoceros Iguanas were patiently waiting at the shoreside for us to come visit them. And they didn’t run away when we were approaching them. Although it was a beautiful moment to see them all together, that didn’t really match what Saturnino said before.

He explained to me, that the sound of the boat engine draw their attention and that they happily walk to the shore to look who is coming. After years of contact with visitors, they are not tamed, but behave with a curiosity friendliness towards strangers. They know, that the loud sound of the engine effects some nice presents that the strangers will bring them. CHERRIES!


Yes. Rhinoceros Iguanas love cherries. They are vegan animals and don’t eat other animals. That makes it quite difficult to have a good diet. Vegetation on the arid island is scarce and not many tasty plants grow there.

Hence, they perceive cherries as a sweet and welcoming variety of their daily nutrition. What they actually are. They don’t have cherries at their little islands but like them very very much.

The two guides have brought a box of fruits to lure the iguanas. It was enough for all, but that doesn’t mean, that they gladly shared the food with each other. Like everywhere in wildlife, there is a jealousy about food. Rhinoceros Iguanas aren’t an exception here grant each other not even the smallest piece of cherry.

No, they even jump as high as their ankles allow, stretch themselves as much as possible to reach a sweet cherry.

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Did you like this article? I can promise you, that many other articles are currently under construction and just wait for you to be read. Come back regularly and check out many more interesting stories about the Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

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