Galapagos Wildlife


There are 27 species of reptiles found on the Galapagos divided in five families as follows: snakes, geckos, Iguanas, lava lizards and, the giant tortoises.

There are around 29 types of land birds in the islands and 70% are endemic while such birds as the lava gull, swallowtail gull, Galapagos penguin and the waved albatross are actually endemic and found no where else. There are 19 main types of sea birds that proliferate the islands and many believe the birds were the first colonizing animals to populate these distant, remote lands.

The main mammals on the islands are rats, sea lions, seals and a couple of bat species as the islands have been always segregated from any Pacific main lands. Some however, are under more threat due to man importation of donkeys, dogs, black rats and goats.

Marine Life
It is currently reported that there are over 400 different species of fish roaming the Galapagos islands surrounding waters with 17% endemic to this area only.

Giant Tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus)

The Galapagos and the Seychelles are the sole islands housing giant tortoises while the Galapagos name originates from the Saddleback tortoise meaning galápago or saddle.

14 subspecies of this wonderful ancient has been located on the islands and 11 survive to this day. The most senior tortoise lives in the Darwin Research Station and is purported to be a grand 170. Longevity results through perhaps a stress free lifestyle as all their life consists of is eating, mating and sleeping with no predators at large in addition to nesting during February to May when the females prepare to lay their eggs which take between 3 to 8 months to hatch.

Today the Darwin Research station is helping to increase the current 15,000 population of giant turtles and along with the Santa Cruz tortoise reserve on San Cristóbal housing the highest population of all islands the captivity approach is working effectively.

Marine Turtles (Chelonia mydas)

Marine Iguanas (Amblyrynchus cristatus)

Land Iguana (Conolphus pallidus or subscristatus)

Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus)

Flightless Cormorant (Nannopetrum harrisi)

Waved Albatross (Dimeda irrorata)



Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)

Fur Seals (Arctocephalus galapaoensis)

Marine Life