3 Jaw–Dropping Animals that you Could See on the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are known for how remote and untouched they are by humans, making them one of the natural wonders of the world. Discovered back in 1535, the islands have been left to flourish and the species have been left to evolve to the terrain that they live upon. There are over 70 different species on the islands and more are being discovered, giving the Galapagos the highest endemism of anywhere in the world.
So, if we haven’t given you enough reasons to go already, then here are three jaw-dropping animals that you could see on the Galapagos Islands.
The marine iguana isn’t the most beautiful creature to look at, but they have many interesting features that may change your mind about them. This unique lizard can remove excess salt through the glands in its nose and can squirt it up to several feet out of its nostrils. They may look like quite menacing creatures but, in fact, they are herbivores and they feed on algae they collect from dives up to 65 feet beneath the surface.
These 14-inch reptiles have evolved over a long time while being on the islands. They now use their claws to grip to rocks and their elegant swimming skills to find the remote spots for food. They don’t seem so hideous after all.
These giant tortoises are one of the islands’ main attractions and their sheer size and weight is enough to make anyone fear them. But, in fact, they are too busy looking for their meal to care what is going on around them. Being able to only move at 0.17mph, these land giants spend eight to nine hours a day foraging for food. As tortoises are cold blooded animals, they also spend one to two hours a day basking, allowing them to absorb the sun’s heat through their dark shell.
Unfortunately, things haven’t always been so smooth for the Galapagos tortoise, as they were almost hunted to extinction back in 1974 when just 3,060 remained (from around 250,000 when first discovered in the 16th century). But their numbers have now increased back up to around 19,000, with modern conservation efforts.
The flightless cormorant, as the name might suggest, has lost the ability to fly. Instead, it uses its large body and powerful legs within the ocean. With its webbed feet, it propels itself through the ocean waters hunting fish, eels and small octopuses. After diving, these flightless birds spend some time drying off their feathers. They have air which is trapped within their plumage which prevents them from becoming waterlogged.
As these birds have no fear of humans, they can be easily approached and picked up, but, personally, we would leave that to the experts. As this is one of the more interesting birds that you may hear about, you might want to keep an eye out for it during your journey to the Galapagos Islands.
If you are excited at the chance to see these animals in their natural habitat, our South America Tours page can help make this a reality.