Marine Iguanas (Iguanidae): The moment you arrive, you'll be
tripping over these creatures. This is the only lizard in the world
that lives in the ocean, and the three species seen on the islands
are endemic. It's brilliant to see them when they're mating, as their
black skin turns bright red when the iguanas want to attract a mate.
Iguanas (Iguanidae): Also endemic to the islands, these colorful
creatures are nothing short of spectacular. They prefer prickly pear
cactus, standing on their hind legs to reach the flowering plant. They
have a leathery, tough tongue and don't need to remove the spines from
the cactus before eating.
Lizards (Iguanidae): Not as big or brilliant, but just as interesting,
are these endemic lizards found virtually everywhere on the islands.
They sometimes have a splash of orange or red decorating their chin
and look like they're doing pushups when showing off for a lady lizard.
There are 7 species on the islands.
It's impossible to leave the islands without becoming an avid bird watcher!
The Galapagos Islands are famous for the great variety of bird life
and how they evolved.
Cormorant (Phalacrocoracidae): The only flightless cormorant
in the world! Over years, it evolved into a great swimmer, losing the
capacity to fly. To see this bird, you have to get to the sest side
of Isabela. It's well worth the time and trip to see this amazing torpedo
in the water.
(Spheniscidae): This is the only penguin found in equatorial waters
- warm waters. It's the most northerly penguin in the world, as the
rest are found in the Southern Hemisphere. Isla Isabela and Fernandina
have the most penguins, but if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse
of a small colony at Bartolome.
Waved Albatross (Diamedeidae): The waved albatross is a resident
of the Galapagos, and if you make it to the islands from April to December,
it can be seen on Isla Santa Cruz. Absolutely graceful in the air, it
can be away for months and even years at sea without touching land.
Landing and taking off, however, is comical as the birds line up like
they might at JFK Airport in New York City, waiting for the control
tower to give them the go-ahead. The courtship of this bird is one of
a kind - well worth a trip to the Galapagos in October when it generally