Christmas Iguanas of the Galapagos Islands

 

There’s no denying the fact that marine iguanas are SERIOUSLY freaky. They look like little miniature Godzillas, hissing and sneezing (in order to expel excess salt from their nasal glands) and tending to clutter en masse like kittens. Marine Iguanas can be found pretty much everywhere in the Galapagos Islands, but they seem to love congregating on the lava-strewn shores, where they can rapidly absorb heat from the sun to warm their bodies after a swim. They vary greatly from island to island in terms of size and color, from the Christmas Iguanas on Española to the brick red colors of the subspecies on Fernandina, where there were so many marine iguanas that you had to watch where you walked for fear of stepping on one. On land they appear graceless and clumsy, but their flattened tails and spiky dorsal fins make them a wonder to behold in the water. It’s extremely bizarre to be snorkeling and see a 3- to 5-foot long lizard feeding on algae 25 feet below you, then shimmying their prehistoric-looking bodies like snakes to swim to the surface for air. But, after a few encounters with this rare and remarkable species, we grew to love them, treasuring their crusty cuteness and their puppy-like penchant for being constantly underfoot.  –by Bret Love; photo by Mary Gabbett

 

 

If you liked Marine Iguanas, you might also like:

Wildlife of the Galapagos video series: Part I,  Sea Lions

Wildlife of the Galapagos video series: Part 2,  Flightless Cormorants

Wildlife of the Galapagos video series: Part 3,  Tortoises

Galapagos Mystery Fish

DAY 1- Photo Gallery: San Cristobal, Kicker Rock & Genovesa

DAY 2- Photo Gallery: Genovesa & Fernandina

DAY 3- Photo Gallery: Isabela & Santiago

DAY 4- Photo Gallery:  North Seymour & Bartolome

DAY 5- Photo Gallery:  Santa Cruz & Espanola 

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