Travelers of all ages from scientists who have visited the archipelago many times to first-time explorers are amazed by the Galapagos Islands wildlife. The creatures that call the volcanic terrain home roam the land with an untethered gait, welcoming visitors on beaches, in the highlands, and around every bend and corner. Keep reading for some of the Galapagos Islands wildlife that you have a chance to encounter on a trip to the archipelago.
Land iguanas live on the uninhabited islands around the Galapagos and are often seen when visiting North Seymour, Santa Fe, Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, and Balta islands.
They feed on prickly pear leaves and the fruit of low bushes and trees that dot the island’s trails. The yellow reptile is a startling sight against the volcanic landscapes, and two other species of iguanas are found on Isabela on Santa Fe islands.
Santa Fe is home to the Santa Fe iguana, recognized by its bulk and length, weighing as much as 25 pounds and reaching lengths of over three feet. The pale yellow iguana is often spotted basking in the sun or feeding on cacti plants around the island.
Isabela’s pink land iguana is one of the more elusive creatures of the Galapagos Islands wildlife, only found on the slopes of Wolf volcano, one of the active volcanoes of the island. Two hundred of the reptiles are left in the world, and studies show that they are one of the oldest of all of the iguanas.
One of the showstoppers in the islands is the giant tortoise, found lumbering along trails of reserves on San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela Islands and beside roads around the archipelago. The Charles Darwin Visitor Center is home to a tortoise breeding center-many of those raised here are released on islands whose populations became extinct after being hunted for food and oil by generations of residents and passing ships.
Blue-Footed Boobies are a favorite of travelers in the islands. The comical birds mating ritual is a thing of beauty-males and females court each other with clumsy dances, gifts, and a distinct whistle-which combined to make a whimsical spectacle worth the trip to see. One of the biggest colonies of the endemic birds is on North Seymour, and they are also spotted on both the inhabited an uninhabited islands of the archipelago.
North Seymour Island is also home to the largest colony of Magnificant Frigatebirds in the islands. The impressive black feathered birds have their own mating ritual-males inflate their pouches to the size of basketballs to attract potential mates.
Galapagos penguins are often described as the odd bird out in the islands, is the only one of their kind south of the equator. Smaller than others of their species found around the world, the aquatic penguins live close to the water around Isabela and Bartolome islands-often joining snorkelers and sea lions in the water while swimming after small fish in the water.
For many, the Galapagos Islands wildlife opens up and renews a connection with nature that changes the way they see the world.