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The Magic of The Galapagos and Its Unique Animals

March 7, 2023 Josh Goncalves 3 Comments

I highly suggest adding the Galápagos Islands to your travel bucket list if it is not there already. I myself have had the wonderful opportunity to visit these fantastic islands, and they will always have a special place in my heart. I promise the beauty of the islands will leave you in awe, and the one-of-a-kind ecosystem will inspire you. Not to mention, there is a crucial educational and historical aspect that will forever be linked to the islands, as Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking theory of evolution and natural selection was inspired there.

Within the 13 major islands that make up the Galápagos Archipelago, there are nearly 9,000 different native species that reside there and around 20% of marine life cannot be found anywhere else in the world! Here are some highlights that you might see on your ACIS tour of the Galápagos.

Explore ACIS Adventures to The Galapagos

Galápagos Giant Tortoise

How could I not start with the Galápagos Tortoise? Arguably the most iconic tortoise in the world, (and my favorite) they cannot be found anywhere else on the globe. These massive reptiles can grow up to be five feet and 700 pounds, with the largest recorded tortoise being nearly six feet long and weighing 919 pounds. These tortoises average a life span of 100 years with the oldest on record living up to 175 years. The Galápagos Islands once brimmed with these tortoises, so much so that the sailors named the islands after them; the Spanish word for tortoise is galápago. An estimated 250,000 populated the island when it was first discovered but now only around 15,000 remain.

Blue-Footed Booby

As a kid visiting the Galápagos Islands, this was definitely my favorite animal and it never failed to get a chuckle out of me or my brothers. The iconic thing about these birds are their beautiful blue feet; however, they are not born with them. Blue-footed boobies develop blue feet when they mature and the bluer their feet are, the better chance they have at mating; even birds can be judgmental! Their name comes from the Spanish word bobo, meaning foolish, which was given to them because of the funky way they walk on land. Around half of the world’s Blue-footed booby population lives in the Galápagos Islands so you won’t miss them!

Galápagos Sea Lions

I thought my life was complete when I arrived in the Galápagos Islands and saw sea lions laying down on the benches and park tables, without a bother in the world. Galápagos sea lions show no fear to humans because of the isolation their species has experienced by living in these islands. Their only predators are sharks, killer whales, and dogs. These animals are extremely friendly and are known as the hosts of the Galápagos Islands due to their curious nature with tourists, so don’t be afraid if one approaches you! These specific sea lions can only be found in the Galápagos and are the largest endemic land animal there.

Darwin’s Finches

These are the same species of finches that Darwin based his hypothesis of natural selection off of, which earned them the name. Darwin’s Finches actually consists of 15 different species of small birds that are similar in appearance but display different beaks. Each species has a distinctive beak that has evolved throughout time in order to adapt to the food sources in their environment. All of these finches are endemic to the Galápagos Islands and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. If you would like to see an animal that changed history, I recommend visiting the Galápagos Islands!

Magnificent Frigatebirds

There are several frigatebirds but the one that you will be able to find in the Galápagos Islands is the Magnificent frigatebird (it is also the coolest). They are the largest frigatebirds in the world and the unique feature that defines these birds is the beautiful red balloon on its neck. It takes frigatebirds around 20 minutes to inflate the balloon (called the gular sac), and it is primarily used to attract mates. Frigatebirds cannot actually take off in water since their feathers are not water proof; Because of this, they have the ability to soar for weeks. They are also called man-o’-war birds due to the violent way they catch their prey. Frigatebirds gather food by letting other birds, specifically blue-footed boobies, catch the fish for them. Once the fish is caught, frigatebirds will harass them until they literally cough up the fish.

Marine Iguana

Although they may not be the best looking according to Darwin, these iguanas are special because they are endemic to the Galápagos Islands and the only marine lizard species in the world. They live on both land and sea and are able to dive to depths of 65 feet and can hold their breath for an hour. Despite this, they mainly only go underwater for a few minutes to feed on algae and seaweed. You may see pictures of them in different colors because during mating season they turn to shades of green, red, orange, pink, and blue to attract females. Once the season is over they turn black again. Since they do spend a lot of time underwater, an excess amount of salt builds upon them which is why they sneeze a lot in order to remove it.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and begin your educational travel journey to the Galápagos through ACIS!


Josh Goncalves

3 thoughts on “The Magic of The Galapagos and Its Unique Animals

  1. I am heading to the Galapagos Islands in June with ACIS and a group of high school students. Really looking forward to this incredible experience. Thanks for posting your pictures and information. Any travel suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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