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Galapagos wildlife

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    This article is a travel topic

The Wildlife is the prime reason for visiting the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. The logistics of travelling to and around the islands as well as information on the islands is given in the Galapagos Islands article itself.

Understand

Lying 1000km west of Ecuador on the South American mainland, the volcanic Galapagos Islands' wildlife developed and remained relatively protected until the 1800s. Charles Darwin visited the islands in 1835 and his studies here helped form his Theory of Evolution. Since then, although the influence of mankind has increased, the islands isolation has kept them remarkably unspoilt with some of the tamest wildlife you will ever encounter.

The National Park

The land of the islands was declared a National Park in 1959, and the surrounding seas a marine biosphere in 1986.

What to bring / hire

  • Binoculars
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Camera
  • Seasickness pills

Reptiles

Tortoises

The Giant Tortoises (Geocheleone elephantopus) are justly the most famous residents of the islands, weighing up to 200kg and living for up to 150 years. Each island with tortoises tends to have it's own sub-species (but with five on Isabella) which have evolved separately. Of the 14 sub-species, three are extinct and one more will be when Lonesome George (from Pinto) dies. The tortoises are most easily seen at the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz., as well as in the interior of this island and on San Cristobal and Isabella.

Iguanas

The black Marine Iguana (Amblyrhyynchus cristatus) can be seen sunning themselves (often on top of each other) on rocks at the sea edge of most of the islands. The world's only seagoing lizard, it feeds on seaweed.

The Galapagos Land Iguana (Conolophus subscristatus) are another dinosaur like reptile which lives on most of the main islands. A grey-yellow colour, the move slowly - be careful not to walk on them. They eat the pads of the prickly pear cactus

The Santa Fe Land Iguana (Conolophus pallidus) lives only on Santa Fe and is slightly larger.

Lizards

The Lava Lizard (Tropidurus) scurries around the rocky ground of the islands. There are seven species, which similarly to the Giant Tortoises are endemic to different islands.

Snakes

Geckos

Turtles

Land Mammals

Goats

Rats

Birds

Albatrosses

Boobies

Masked Boobies

Red-Footed Boobies

Blue-Footed Boobies

Cormorants

Darwin Finches

Egrets & Herons

Flamingos

Frigatebirds

Hawks

Mockingbirds

Oystercatchers

Pelicans

Penguins

Plovers

Storm Petrels

Tropicbirds

Yellow Warblers

Sea Mammals

Sea Lions

Fur Sea Lions

Seals

Whales

Dolphins

Fish

Sharks

Rays

Anglefish

Invertebrates

Crabs

Sea Urchins

Sea Cucumbers

Sea Anenomies

Star Fish

Plants

Cacti

Mangroves

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

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