Galapagos Wildlife

By Allie Almario

Just like in Africa, you will encounter what we call the Galapagos Big Five.  These are the wildlife species that you are pretty much guaranteed to see whenever you go in the Galapagos archipelago.


On just about any trip to the Galapagos, you’ll find yourself literally tripping over colonies of sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki).  They are truly a joy to watch. On the beach, they often act as a welcoming committee, barking a hello as you land on a beach. If you’re a snorkeler, you’ll be tempted to reach out and pet one as they swim alongside you in the shallow coves, but please remember these are still wild animals, and Galapagos National Park Rules do not allow you to touch the wildlife.


Galapagos marine iguanas often stay remarkably still for long periods of time as they warm themselves in the Equatorial sun.  Many travelers remark on its uncanny resemblance to tiny dinosaurs. Take advantage of this unusual trait to take a National Geographic-worthy portrait shot! A fun fact about the marine iguanas found in the Galapagos is that they are the only species of their kind that actually forages underwater.


Known as the clowns of the Galapagos, the blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) boasts teal-colored webbed feet. Though not endemic to the islands, they are often the most photographed here for their unusual colored feet.


These are the largest living tortoises in the world and this particular subspecies is found in only here, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, and another in Aldabra, a remote archipelago off Tanzania. With the help of wildlife conservation groups, these once highly endangered species are slowly making a comeback in the wild.


A crab with a most unusual name and surreal bright blue and red colors, the sally lightfoot crab (grapsus grapsus) can often be easily seen on the black lava rocks along the shoreline.

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