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The Galapagos Islands are famous for Charles Darwin’s finch birds and blue-footed boobies. However, they are also home to a wide and varied fauna unique in the world that makes them special, and one that you should know about. Today, the animals of the Galapagos have become a hallmark of this Ecuadorian paradise. In addition, the islands have strict rules that protect all the wildlife that inhabits them.
There is no doubt that if you decide to visit the Galapagos Islands, the animals will capture all your attention and will give you great moments during your holidays. For this reason, and so that you don’t get scared when you meet them, we will tell you about the animals you can find in this archipelago.
Galapagos giant tortoise
This tortoise has something special to look out for because it has many unique characteristics for its species. This type of giant tortoise only exists in two places in the world: the Galapagos and the Seychelles.
They can weigh close to half a tonne (500 kilograms), making them the largest turtles in the world.
Another unique feature is that these amphibians can live up to 170 years, making them one of the longest-living vertebrates in existence.
Unfortunately, this species has declined considerably over the last decades. There used to be 250,000 tortoises in the 16th century, and this was reduced to just 3,000 in the 1970s.
This was because pirates, whalers and merchants hunted them for food during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and it is estimated that more than 100,000 turtles were killed during this period.
Indiscriminate hunting of the Galapagos giant tortoise has reduced the 250,000 that inhabited the islands in the 16th century to just a few thousand today
The Galapagos shark is one of the most abundant shark species in the world that concentrates near the coasts, but don’t worry! If you are snorkeling or doing any sports activity in the Galapagos, the chances of being attacked by a shark are one in many, many millions 😉 ).
This species can reach up to 3 meters and has the shape of a reef shark. Sharks breed every two to three years with litters of four to 16 pups.
The shark’s most defining feature is its high first dorsal fin, which has a slightly rounded tip and arises above the rear tips of the pectoral fins.
One of the most iconic animals of the Galapagos is undoubtedly its iguanas. In fact, they are iconic throughout the country, so if you’re thinking of visiting Ecuador, sure you come across one.
They are amphibious animals and can be found walking in the street, as well as swimming in the sea.
Darwin described these reptiles as “hideous-looking” and as the “most loathsome and clumsy of lizards”, but they are actually quite adorable, don’t you think? They can grow from 60 centimeters to 1.2 meters long and can weigh up to 1.5 kg, feeding on seaweed.
Blue footed gaviots or piqueros
This is an exclusive animal in the Galapagos. The Galapagos gull is also known by the name of booby or the nickname “bobo” (“dumb” in english). This is because the blue-footed booby is, like other seabirds, rather clumsy when moving on land.
They can grow up to 1.5 meters. Their blue legs are a sexual trait in which males display them in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female.
This part of his body helps him to stand out from the females. We leave you a video in which you can see this movement, which we find very funny.
The adorable sea lions from Galapagos range from 1.5 to 2.5 meters and weigh between 50 and 250 kilograms. Because of the shape of their nose and snout, the pups look a bit like dog puppies. They hunt in the ocean up to 15 kilometers from the coast.
They can often be confused with seals. However, one of its distinguishing characteristics is its ear-shaped external flippers.
Now that you know a little more about the animals of the Galapagos… Which one are you most looking forward to meeting on your trip? Whatever, remember to respect its habitat and disturb it as little as possible. It’s their home, and you are the guest! 😉