Darwin himself marvelled at the amazing animals found on the Galapagos Islands. Large and small, the islands are filled with unique species that delight the eye and capture the imagination. With that in mind, here are our 5 must-see Galapagos animals.
Blue-footed booby – A beautiful bird with a funny name, the blue-footed boobies are most easily spotted by the signature blue flippers. While the Galapagos Islands aren’t the birds’ exclusive home, it is the breeding ground for about half of the species’ population. Their courtship rituals are a highlight for anyone who sees them. With bowing, wing-spreading and some more clownish behavior, it’s a sight to behold.
Galapagos Tortoise – These magnificent creatures are so iconic that the island was named after them. (“Galapago” means “tortoise” in Spanish.) In addition to being some of the largest tortoises in the world, they also have remarkably long lifespans, often living for over 170 years. It is believed that the Galapagos tortoises made their way to the island 2-3 million years ago from mainland South America. Now the species is endangered and efforts are underway to save these amazing animals.
Marine Iguana – The only seagoing lizard in the world, this species of iguana lives primarily off of seaweed. They have evolved a short, blunt nose for harvesting algae off of rocks and a long, flattened tail that will help propel them through the water. Their black skin helps them blend in with the islands’ lava rock (subspecies on other islands come in different colors), but during mating season the males turn red or green.
Magnificent frigatebird – This species of bird is unmistakable, at least when spotting the male of the species. Known for its giant, red throat pouch, the male magnificent frigatebird certainly lives up to its name. When trying to impress the female, the male’s throat pouch will puff up to jaw-dropping sizes.
Galapagos fur seal – While the Galapagos Islands might not be home to many mammals, the Galapagos fur seal is an exception. Strictly speaking, the Galapagos fur seals aren’t true fur seals, but are actually a species of fur sea lion. These cuddly-looking creatures spend most of its time out of the water, which makes for excellent sightings. And their calls are ubiquitous all over the island.
Of course these five are only scratching the surface of wildlife on the Galapagos Islands. Your best bet to experience it is to see it first hand. Browse our trips to learn how you can see a real-life Galapagos Tortoise: http://www.eviactive.com/category/trips/ecuador-trips/.