The Galapagos was (actually, still is being) formed by volcanoes, just like Hawaii. The theory is that as the tectonic plates shift, openings are created allowing the magma/lava to surge up and start the process of land building. As the lava field moves underneath the older islands start sinking back into the sea, which explains how the species that live there can be older than the islands themselves. A bit of drifting in strong winds from the coast and island hopping and voila! Mystery solved.
The very first creatures we saw were iguanas, marine iguanas and they were dark, almost black and had blunt front noses, but seemed to be smiling in the sunshine.(I think they're kind of cute, actually.)
|Iguana yoga...this is the cobra|
|Moisturizer is key, but he doesn't know that|
|Chillin' on the rocks|
|Blue is the fashion when mating|
|It's a rough life|
|Iguana meditation - "Be the rock. I am the rock."|
Then there's the wealth of little lizards running around. This guy does push ups to show the ladies that he's fit. The girls show off there red throats and faces to attract the men.
But, I can't forget the tortoises. Their population was at risk due to an "introduced" species...the black rat. The rodents feed and disrupt the eggs, so no new turtles and tortoises were hatching. So the Darwin Centre on Isla Santa Cruz came to the rescue. They started digging up the nests before they could be messed with and raising the little guys themselves. They hatchlings stay in the centre for 5 years (making them "rat proof" before they're released back to their original islands. One of the tortoises that stays permanently is named Diego (also know as "Super Diego") he was someone's pet before he came to the centre and is the proud father of over 800 offspring. He's quite popular with the ladies. There's two types of tortoise, the humpback, who feed off the ground, and saddle backs who feed off the bushes and trees. Their shell design has adapted for their specific feeding style.
|Humpbacked tortoise offering the classic pose |
to please the tourists
|They do go in the water and can float, if necessary|
|Me, honouring the 2 meter distance rule|
|Saddle back tortoise|
|Super Diego, being coy|
|Hard to lift up the head in a humpback shell|