The mix of species is quite bizarre: tropical & subtropical fishes, sea lions, fur seals, penguins, cormorants, and more. Best islands to spot them: Española and North Seymour. It’s the unique habitat of the Galapagos archipelago that allowed such unique wildlife to prosper. These islands are rich in unique species of plants and animals you can find nowhere else in the world. If you are looking for information about the specific Galapagos animals, click here to skip to that section. There are about 24 different species of whales that have been identified in the Galapagos. They are found all over the archipelago. Despite originating from a single species, 13 unique varieties of the bird populate the archipelago today. The archipelagos consists of 20 islands with only 4 being inhabited. This ability is thought to be unique among all vertebrate species on earth. 3 Unique Animal Encounters In The Galapagos Islands. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Darwin didn’t like marine iguanas much more than their cousins on land, referring to them as “clumsy lizards… imps of darkness.”. These birds provided Darwin with his “Eureka!” moment that started his research into natural selection and evolution. The Galapagos tortoise is the first thing many people think of when they hear the name Galapagos Islands, and there’s a good reason why it’s gained such international fame. While Darwin was responsible for embedding the Galapagos tortoise in the popular subconscious, the island’s unique wildlife and variety of finches were most important to the modern founding of the theory of natural selection. Located approximately 1000 km west of the South American coast, the volcanic archipelago of islands is a nature’s paradise that abounds with the spectacular and unique Galapagos wildlife. The islands’ unique ecosystem and endemic animal species draw wildlife lovers from across the globe. With a treasure trove of endemic species, the Galapagos Islands are renowned for natural wonders and unique wildlife. In 1835, Charles Darwin travelled to the Galápagos Islands and had the opportunity to observe many unique forms of wildlife. Both species are endemic to the Galapagos Islands and found nowhere else on Earth. Perhaps this is due to over-fishing and poaching for their fins, which– when combined with their slow reproductive rate– has landed the species on the IUCN’s Near Threatened list. Galapagos tortoises are now listed as an endangered species, only 15000 remains today. Located 604 miles (972 km) from the mainland, the islands are easily in the top 10 of the most remote islands on earth. A cruise to the famed Galapagos Islands is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a mecca for wildlife buffs. Because the vast distances of the Pacific Ocean offer the Galápagos boobies a buffer zone from many predators, blue-footed boobies have spent their time developing an elaborate courtship ritual in which the male dances for the female. Found exclusively in the Galapagos, the Marine Iguana is the only iguana on the planet that swims in the ocean. Best islands to spot them: Genovesa and Española. The tortoises’ shells do resemble the shape of a saddle, and thus the islands’ name: Islands of Galapagos. December 10th, 2018 Roxy Pratley 3 Comments. A webbed-footed bird upon a branch just like a crow? They are similar to the emperor penguin in that the Galapagos penguins are monogamous and typically breed for life. Learn what you can expect to see on your Galapagos vacation, both above water and underwater. ... and fearlessness are probably the concepts that best describe the only animals that complement the natural magic of the Galapagos Islands. This evolutionary strategy limits cormorants to just two of the Galápagos Islands, and there are fewer than 2,000 of them in total, making them one of the world’s rarest birds. 10 unique animals of the Galapagos Islands. The Galápagos are located at the confluence of several currents including the cold Humboldt Current traveling north from South America and the Panama Current traveling south from Central America make the islands cooler and provide the perfect environment for the unique mix of wildlife that inhabits the islands. About 13 different species exist on the islands, each with unique beak characteristics especially suited to their habitat. The Galapagos is home to over half the population of blue-footed boobies in the world. Like the giant tortoise, the fur seal is one of the island chain’s endemic species. The Galapagos Islands are a popular destination for cruises for good reason. Highly recommended. Best islands to spot them: Genovesa. Galapagos Islands are considered as the best tourist destination that are located around 600 miles from Ecuador that come in the form of volcanic islands. *Tour prices are per person, before flights, and based on two travelers per hotel room on select departure dates. While there’s no shortage of destinations around the globe which claim to be “unique”, there are few of them with as many solid qualifications as the Galapagos Islands. Though large Galapagos Sharks can be aggressive, the smaller ones we have seen while snorkeling were among the most human-shy of all the Galapagos Islands animals. They are the only booby in Galapagos that nests in trees and bushes, and this makes them quite unique. Travelers from various countries come to the place just to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary flora and fauna that have been dominating the land since time immemorial. It is found only in the Galapagos and on only two islands… The sea lions also occupy the shorelines but can be distinguished by their larger bodies, which are biologically similar to the California sea lion. The wildlife on the Galapagos Islands, both on land and in the water, is exceedingly unique. They are the largest land animal in Galapagos Islands. The name “booby” comes from a corruption of the Spanish bobo, which means “clown” or “fool.” Blue-footed boobies, then, get their name from two places: their bright blue feet and their remarkable clumsiness on land. Along with a treasure trove of native types, the Galapagos Islands are actually renowned for natural miracles and special creatures. Top snorkeling locations: Gardner Bay, Champion Islet, Genovesa, North Seymour, Bartolome, Sombrero Chino, Rabida, Punta Vicente Roca, and Punta Espinoza. I’m from Seattle, Washington, United States. The location of these volcanic islands – at the confluence of large currents – has provided unique habitats for over 1300 species making the collection of Galapagos Islands animals like no other in the world. While they’re in the Galápagos, the waved albatrosses engage in a charming mating ritual in which they’ll mimic each other’s bobs, screeches and nuzzles—but unlike other birds on the Galápagos, waved albatrosses mate for life. The Galapagos Islands became famous after Charles Darwin landed there to study the animals of these islands and postulate the theory of evolution. Explorers are never impressed by the finches’ plumages, but their beak variations are quite an example of adaptation. Today, visitors to the Galápagos can still admire the same wildlife the British naturalist saw, including nine animals you won’t find anywhere else in the world but on the Galápagos Islands. Lava Lizard The islands themselves were named after them; “galapago” in old Spanish is the word for a horse-riding saddle. They primarily feed on schools of fish, preying on small species such as anchovies, sardines, and mullet. These unique reptiles can be found on all of the Galapagos Islands, with varied subspecies of different sizes and color spread throughout. Blue-footed boobies are every bit as colorful and eccentric as they sound. From weird pink iguanas and painted insects; to mysterious new species; here are STRANGEST Creatures of the Galapagos Islands ! Call now and get a FREE quote for your next Galapagos cruise vacation! They are remote. The Galapagos Islands an archipelago of 14 islands and over 120 islets 1000 km off the coast of South America. Endemic animals are only found in Galapagos: the marine iguana is one example. One important but fun fact about Galapagos Islands is that it is home to the endangered but unfearful wildlife, which can get the visitors some of the rarest animals on the planet. Galapagos whales are mammals covered with a thick layer of fat that keeps them warm and, at the same time, provides them with the energy needed for migratory journeys. On a trip to the Galápagos Islands, you might spot these incredible, unique animals. The unique species found here are perfect examples of nature’s bizarre solutions to evolution. These endemic animals continue to inspire visitors today as they did Charles Darwin back in 1835. If you love beach adventures, the Galapagos also has beautiful beaches. The giant tortoise certainly isn’t speedy, but it outlives just about every other vertebrate on Earth, with an average age well over 100 years. The Galapagos Islands are a living laboratory of evolution. These majestic giants were almost hunted to extinction. Since then, a lot of research has been conducted on these islands taking great care to prevent the introduction of alien species and preserve the unique biodiversity. The iguana can dive nearly 30 feet in the water. One of the most underrated destinations for traveling alone is the Galapagos Islands. There’s a reason why Darwin labeled them “The Enchanted Isles”; besides helping him draft his theories on “The Origin of Species,” Darwin was also fascinated by the enormous diversity and remarkable quirkiness of the local wildlife. Giant tortoises inhabit most of the islands in the Galápagos, and the different populations display slight variations in the size and shape of their shells. Below we introduce the 9 most unique Galapagos Islands animals. 4. It is found only in the Galapagos and on only two islands… A cormorant that “flies” underwater Flightless cormorants, (c) Patrick Endres The flightless cormorant is the only species of cormorant that can’t fly. US Toll Free: +1(855) 942-0165 Rest of the World: 180-000-1268 MON - FRI: 08h00 to 17h00 (ECT) hbspt.cta.load(4187609, '71d734fb-41e7-4d15-b3e6-00cb3b65ef69', {}); © 2020 | Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise by Metropolitan Touring | I10438. The Galapagos are a naturalist’s dream, filled as they are with a diverse array of plant and animal life. Once numbering over 250,000, their … They form large colonies on the beach and possess a friendly and inquisitive approach to humans. More about Whales . The Galapagos islands have a low biodiversity (that is, few animal species), because the islands are 600 miles (1000 km) from the continent. Galapagos Travel Guide. The Galapagos Islands nearest mainland, Ecuador, lies 600 miles (970 kilometres) to the East. Galapagos islands are a unique and endemic archipelago with an extraordinary beauty in the world. The Galapagos islands are unique for the close interactions you can have with the wildlife, such as swimming with penguins, walking among marine iguanas, and lounging with sea lions. ♦ Galapagos Island Marine Iguana. Marine Iguana. The Galapagos Islands fascinated Charles Darwin. Also endemic to the archipelago, the Galapagos sea lion is similar in many ways to the fur seal. Galapagos Islands located in the West coast of South America is home to some of breathtaking and unique wildlife in the world. What types of spaces are available for kids on the Santa Cruz II? The flightless cormorant is the only species of cormorant that has lost the ability to fly, and it’s developed accordingly. A popularly held belief is that the original species that evolved into the unique Galapagos variety found their way to the islands on flotation rafts of vegetation and other waste and were carried to the island via wind and sea currents. These birds have tiny bodies with enormous wingspans, and because they lack the ability to take off from water, they simply soar for days and even weeks on end. Marine organisms, such as green sea turtles and corals, probably came on … The location of these volcanic islands – at the confluence of large currents – has provided unique habitats for over 1300 species making the collection of Galapagos Islands animals like no other in the world. If the islands deserve respect and appreciation for their land attractions and features, then the waters will never disappoint any explorer willing to see the less-known side of the archipelago. Their huge wings and slender bodies force them to find suitable launch pads on coastal cliffs, but once they’re airborne, waved albatrosses will fly without seeming to tire. I had the opportunity to snorkel with some sea turtles once. The Galapagos is also a declared marine reserve, and after the Great Barrier Reef, this is the second-largest marine reserve in the World. The Galapagos Islands are the home of modern ecology, where noted ecologist Charles Darwin developed his theories on evolution and adaptation.. And they are the location that ecologists from all over the world continue to flock to in their studies of the world's most unique ecosystems. The great fliers of the Galápagos, waved albatrosses split their time between the South American coast, where they hunt for food, and the Galápagos, where they return each year to breed. Red-footed boobies, although the most numerous booby of all, remains as the least seen booby due to their feeding ecology: they use peripheral islands in the archipelago, and naturally, avoid competition with the other two species of boobies. When diving in the Galapagos you will have the opportunity to see unique wildlife unfound outside of the archipelago. They come in three styles: with blue feet, with red feet, and with a wonderful mask. The Galapagos Islands Fur seal is an animal endemic to the islands. They are native to main Islands of Galapagos. These creatures are quite unique wildlife as only in the Galapagos and Aldabra Island (an atoll off the Seychelles Archipelago) you can get to see them. On his journey to these islands, he created his theory of evolution. The Galapagos Islands fascinated Charles Darwin. Sally Lightfoot crabs are among the most colorful inhabitants of the Galápagos. 4. The giant tortoises of the Galapagos can live for up to 150 years. Galapagos Islands Wildlife: Photos Of Unusual Animals. The Galapagos islands have a low biodiversity (that is, few animal species), because the islands are 600 miles (1000 km) from the continent. Discover the full list here. Galapagos Animals . They have average life span of 100 years or more. These small animals are usually found in the colder areas of the Galapagos, mainly on Fernandina Island and Isabela Island, and tend to live in caves or crevices.. There are mainly two big groups of whales: the ones with teeth and the ones that filter the water with baleen. This huge expanse of inhospitable ocean in-between makes it very difficult for new kinds of plants and animals to reach the islands. Their colorful scales are a remarkable sight with visible splashes of bright red and green-a trait seen only on Española and Floreana Islands. This incredible unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands includes everything from birds and fish to reptiles and mammals. Unique Galapagos Islands animals for every animal-lover. Found exclusively in the Galapagos, the Marine Iguana is the only iguana on the planet that swims in the ocean. When was the last time you had all those creatures in the waters in front of you? 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