Wildlife of the Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands, named after the shells of saddleback Galapagos tortoises, is a mind-blowing experience. To encounter the Galapagos animals is something you will never forget. Nowhere else in the world can you experience a diverse group of wildlife all in one place: swim and snorkel with sea lions, watch a penguin waddle into the water, scuba dive with hammerhead sharks, stand right next to two male iguanas fighting for a mate, and view a waved albatross, with its 8-foot wingspan, soar along coastal cliffs.
With a lack of predatory mammals, Galapagos wildlife is dominated by reptiles. Some types of the Galapagos animals include the famous 400-pound Galapagos Tortoise. There are also land and marine iguanas, snakes, lava lizards, and sea turtles. Within the Galapagos wildlife, there are 22 species of reptiles, most of which are endemic (species only found in the Galápagos).
The Galapagos archipelago is one of the most important areas for birds in the world. More than half of the bird species are endemic, and many are iconic for both scientists (Charles Darwin first studied them in 1835) and visitors alike. The Galapagos penguin, flightless cormorant, waved albatross, and lava gull are just a few that are not found anywhere else in the world. The shear number and the seemingly tame nature of these birds amaze all who visit.
Galapagos Big 15
When planning your visit to the Galapagos Islands, it helps to structure your experience around the things that you absolutely must do or see. In an otherworldly landscape with a fascinating combination of endemic species, that can be a tall order. For that reason, Andean Discovery has compiled this handy list of the 15 most iconic Galapagos species. From the sea to the shoreline to the sky, these are the true locals of the archipelago — and a well-executed excursion allows you to view each in its natural habitat. Familiarize yourself with the habitats, mating habits, and unique characteristics of these 15 species and you’ll understand just how special the experience is when you see them. Master the details of each and you’ll come closer to comprehending the unique role that each member plays in the special interplay of this fascinatingly untouched ecosystem.