|Travel Ecuador : Galapagos :|
The Galápagos Islands animals are unique in that they are not afraid of humans. It was here that Charles Darwin sailed on The Beagle and formulated his theory of evolution that remains today. Darwin was able to see the relationship between the way that the animals had adapted for life in the islands, compared to their cousins on the mainland. The finches were very important in this process for him.
One of the most interesting of the Galápagos Islands animals is the tortoise. There are a variety of different species. One of the most famous is Lonesome George, who resides in the Darwin Research Station, close to Puerto Ayora. For a while it was thought that George was the last of his species. Another has now been found.
The various islands were home to different kinds of tortoises. Unfortunately tortoises were depleted in numbers due to their use as food – sailors could take them on trips and they would last a long time.
One of the best places to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat is to head to the highlands part of Santa Cruz island. Here you can see the tortoises in Most of the cruise tours include this in their itineraries.
Possibly the most ubiquitous of the Galápagos Islands animals is the sea lion. There are huge colonies of sea lions to be found on a number of the islands. Sometimes you may have to step over a sea lion at the landing point on the island. You will see the sea lions sun bathing, with the pups playing along the shore in the surf. The sea lions make a lot of honking noises and the colonies can be a bit smelly.
You should take care to avoid the larger male sea lions, who can be fairly aggressive at times, especially if there are females with pups in the group.
One of the most wonderful Galápagos Islands experiences is to come across the sea lions while snorkelling. They will play with you, swimming up to your face gracefully and at the last minute before a collision, they will swim away. Again, you should avoid the larger males in the sea.
There are a few nesting spots for turtles in the Galápagos Islands. Here, it is possible to see the mounds where turtles have laid their eggs. You can also sometimes see the trails that they leave when they head back into the sea. If it is the right season, you may be lucky enough to see these graceful Galápagos Islands animals during their courtship and mating routine in the sea.
Marine Iguanas are mainly black in color and are found on a number of the different Galápagos Islands. During the mating season they also turn a beautiful array of other colors around their throat area, including green, yellow and red. You will find them basking in the sun in colonies around the harbors of a number of the Galápagos Islands
The Land Iguana is found in far fewer locations in the Galápagos than its Marine Iguana cousin. It is golden in color, and much harder to spot than the Marine Iguana. The Land Iguana only lives on the island of Santa Fe, and you can occasionally spot one there. Do not be surprised if you do not see one, aside from in the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island.
Sally Lightfoot Crab
This colourful crab can be found on many of the islands. This Galápagos Islands animal is mainly red in color, with smatterings of blue and yellow. It is found mainly in rockier areas in groups.