Galapagos Giant Land Tortoise

 While mammals are predominant over most of the world, reptiles and marine animals are more numerous in the Galapagos due to its isolation from other land masses.  It is generally accepted that these islands have never been connected to any larger land masses so all inhabitants have had to make the crossing of over 600 miles (1000 KM) on reed or grass mats or other flotsam. (See photo of this grass in the Guayaquil section)

The Giant Galapagos Tortoise was hunted almost to extinction by early buccaneers and whalers as they would stay alive for long periods without water.  They were taken on board ships and provided fresh meet for months as the ship sailed long distances in search or booty or whales.  Tortoises are now thought to number about 15,000 through out the Galapagos after an extensive and long term reintroduction program.  Tortoise eggs nests are still removed to sanctuary centers where they are raised until old enough to be reintroduced into the natural habitat.


Is it just me or does anyone else see a resemblance between these two well known celebrities?


Okay, I'll stick my neck out on this!


Checking the Breeze.


Well, there goes the neighborhood - I'm leaving for a classier location. 
Preferably one without cameras.


Hay, You, With the shorts Get In Step!


This is Lonesome George.  The last of his species.  Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni I was lucky enough to see him in May, 2012.  Unfortunately he died soon thereafter on June 24, 2012.  It was estimated that he was well over 100 years old and probably died due to "old age".  Scientists are still checking the DNA of other tortoises on his home island, hoping to find a surviving relative, but the outlook is poor.

Land Iguanas


Galapagos Land Iguanas measure up to 40" long and 28 lbs.  Land Iguanas primarily
 eat cactus pads.  Yes, they are vegetarians but they may snack on other plants
 and occasionally, when no one is looking, snarf up an insect or two.
They can live up to 60 years.


The coloring runs from pale to dark yellow, but occasionally leaning toward ochre.
It looks lot of place here but as you will see in the following photos, the ground is primarily the same color.


As with all the other fauna on the islands, the Land Iguana has no fear of man.
We were suppose to keep 6 feet away from all wildlife and in many cases had
to back up as the animal or bird would come up to us.
It was prohibited to feed any of the wildlife them but I have no doubt that any of them would have eaten out of our hands, although the hand might have  possibly been included in lunch!

Galapagos Sea Iguanas


The Galapagos Sea Iguana is the only ocean going lizard in the world.    They range in size from 30 inches to 60 inches when full grown.
They feed predominately  in the ocean near the shore line.  Sea Iguanas, like their land cousins, are cold blooded.  Water temperature in the Galapagos ranges from the low to mid 70's.  After the Iguana finishes feeding in this relatively cold water, he must climb up on some lava rock and take an after lunch siesta to warm up.  Not a bad life, really!


looking for that warm spot.


Time to head out and collect lunch for the family.  Just kidding, I plan to eat it where I find it.
They will have to fish for themselves.


So far so good but I see a wave coming in.


No problem I'll just dive under it and keep going

Galapagos Sea Turtles

The Galapagos Green Turtle is thought to be a sub-species of the Pacific green Turtle.   Like other turtles, they lay their eggs on the beach, cover them and flipper away.  Although fairly common, I only saw this one on the trip.