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A Galapagos sea lion and her pup

Wildlife of the Galápagos Islands

Animals to look out for on your cruise to the Galápagos Islands

Published on 16 Feb 2024

Across the vast expanse of our planet, there exists a place unlike any other - the Galápagos Islands. Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, these remote volcanic islands form a haven for an array of fascinating creatures, each bearing testament to the marvels of evolution and adaptation.

In the heart of the Galápagos archipelago, a myriad of extraordinary creatures await discovery. From the iconic giant tortoises to the elusive marine iguanas, the Galápagos Islands teem with life found nowhere else on Earth. Here, amidst the azure waters and volcanic landscapes, lies a sanctuary for species both familiar and exotic. 

Blue-Footed Booby

Common Name: Blue-Footed Booby

Scientific Name: Sula Nebouxii

Type: Bird

Diet: Carnivore

Size: Up to 34 inches; wingspan: Up to 5 feet 

Weight: Up to 3 pounds 

Taking to the skies, the whimsical blue-footed boobies are masterful hunters and charismatic performers of the Galápagos skies. With their vibrant azure feet and comical courtship displays, these seabirds captivate visitors and photographers alike.

From their cliffside nests to their synchronised dives into the crystal-clear waters below, blue-footed boobies embody the spirit of freedom and vitality that defines the Galápagos Islands. 

Galápagos Sea Lion

Common Name: Galápagos Sea Lion

Scientific Name: Zalophus Wollebaeki

Type: Mammal

Diet: Carnivore

Size: Up to 8 feet long

Weight: Up to 550 pounds

As we explore the sun-drenched shores of the Galápagos, we encounter the playful inhabitants of the coastal waters - the Galápagos sea lions. These agile marine mammals, with their sleek bodies and expressive faces, epitomise the joy of life in the ocean.

From their synchronised swimming to their sandy siestas on the beach, sea lions embody the spirit of camaraderie and vitality that permeates the Galápagos archipelago. 

Giant Tortoise

Common Name: Galápagos Tortoise

Scientific Name: Chelonoidis 

Type: Reptile

Diet: Herbivore

Size: Up to six feet 

Weight: Up to 573 pounds 

Among the most renowned inhabitants of the Galápagos Islands are the iconic giant tortoises. These gentle giants, with their ancient demeanour and ponderous movements, have become synonymous with the archipelago’s wildlife. 

Endemic to the Galápagos, each island boasts its own unique species of tortoise, shaped by millennia of isolation and adaptation. From the highlands of Santa Cruz to the volcanic slopes of Isabela, these magnificent creatures roam freely, embodying the spirit of endurance and resilience.  

Marine Iguana

Common Name: Marine Iguana 

Scientific Name: Amblyrhynchus Cristatus 

Type: Reptile

Diet: Herbivore

Size: Up to 5 feet

Weight: Up to 3.3 pounds 

Venturing beneath the waves, we encounter the enigmatic marine iguanas - perhaps the only lizard in the world that forages in the ocean. Endowed with unique adaptations for underwater life, these remarkable reptiles navigate the rocky shores and coral reefs with grace and agility.

From their dark, volcanic origins, marine iguanas have evolved to thrive in the harsh intertidal zones of the Galápagos, blending seamlessly with their surroundings and captivating observers with their otherworldly appearance. 

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