Wildlife to see when visiting the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, are one of the only places where nature and wildlife are more prominent than human culture. The set of 19 islands are home to beautiful marine species, volcanic landscapes and both land/sea birds. Here’s our run-down of the astounding creatures to keep an eye out for:
These large birds are recognized by their bright blue feet and are a favourite of visitors to the Galapagos Islands. The colour of their feet becomes important during mating season as females are likely to choose a mate based on how bright his feet are.
Where to find them: North Seymour, Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, Isabela, Pinzon, Santa Cruz
The Red-footed booby has striking red feet and a blue bill. They are smaller than the Blue-footed boobies and despite being a common visitor to the Islands, they are less seen due to their tendency to feed off land.
Where to find them: Genovesa
Native to the Galapagos, the marine Iguana is the only lizard that can live and find food at sea. There are several different subspecies that can be found on the islands. Adults are black for the majority of the year, turning bright colours during mating season – colours of the iguanas will vary depending on the which island you view them at.
Where to find them: Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, Santa Cruz
Galapagos Giant Tortoises
One of the most well-known animals in the Galapagos, the Giant Tortoise is a must-see. Their average size is around 1.5 metres, though they can vary in length and shape. Said to have arrived in the Galapagos over 2 million years ago, these animals developed, diversified and can live up to 100 years old.
Where to find them: Santa Cruz highlands, Alcedo Volcano on Isabela, Santiago, San Cristobal, Pinzon, Espanola
Galapagos Sea Lions
Only found in the Galapagos and small parts of Ecuador, the Galapagos Sea Lions can be found almost anywhere in the area. From sandy beaches to the open sea, these playful animals are easy to spot from a distance.
Where to find them: Across the Galapagos coastline
Galapagos Green Turtles
The Galapagos Green Turtle is the only sea turtle to nest in the Galapagos. The females only come on shore to lay eggs in the months of December to June. Since they are considered an endangered species, tourists are not usually allowed on the beaches during this season. However, snorkelers and divers are more than likely to see these relaxed animals when under water.
Where to find them: Coastal waters throughout the Galapagos
The Galapagos Penguin is special because it is the only penguin to be found north of the equator. They are one of the smallest penguins in the world, are similar to the African or Humboldt species, and are classified as endangered due to their rapidly declining population.
Where to find them: Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, Santiago, Barolome
These fabulous little birds are currently endangered with population numbers as low as 100. They are endemic to the Galapagos Islands and have specific habitat requirements, i.e, Mangrove forests. It is hard to spot these birds outside of breeding season (December – April).
Where to find them: Playa Tortuga Negra and Caleta Black on Isabela Island
Sally Lightfoot Crab
With adults having a bright blue and red coloured shell, you definitely won’t miss these crafty critters! They are pretty fast movers and, consequently, are entertaining to watch. The young crabs are black or brown, camouflaging with the lava on the islands, and then change colour when they are older.
Where to find them: Most beaches and shallow waters
Top Tip: Remember to take a good quality camera with you as you won’t want to forget your magical wildlife viewings on the islands! If you can, also bring a waterproof camera such as a GoPro, so that you can film yourself snorkeling with the sea lions, colourful fish and green turtles!
For more information on visiting the Galapagos, please contact Lesli@lloydstravel.com or your favourite Lloyds Travel Agent! Taking a Galapagos tour will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, suitable for the whole family.