7 Weird Animals You Can See on the Galápagos Islands
Take a few species, put them in the middle of nowhere for a few million years and you get one of the coolest science experiments ever dreamed of.
Here are just a few of the interesting, and sometimes downright weird, animals, reptiles, and birds you might encounter on a trip to the Galápagos Islands.
1) Blue-footed Boobies. The bluer their feet, the more attractive they are to the opposite sex. In fact, the male performs a courtship dance that is designed to show off his blue feet. When blue-footed boobies become exhausted from raising chicks, the blue of their feet fades. Once they kick those chicks out of the nest though, watch out because the blue returns in all its original vibrancy.
2) Marine Iguanas. These Godzilla-like creatures are the only members of the typical landlocked lizard family that can swim and forage for food in the ocean. It also turns out that they can shrink. When the algae they feed on became scarce one year, they lost half their body weight and a quarter of their length. Scientists postulated that they somehow absorbed part of their skeleton. Stranger still is that they re-grew to their original size once algae became plentiful again.
3) Flightless Cormorants. The Flightless Cormorant is one of the few birds that have lost their ability to fly. Their wings and tails have atrophied, while their long necks, strong legs for kicking, and large webbed feet have made them worthy predators of fish that swim in the shallow water just off shore.
4) Sharp-billed Ground Finches. Also know as Vampire finches, a Sharp-billed Ground Finch will peck at the base of a Blue-footed Booby’s tail until it bleeds. They then drink the blood, all without the hapless booby so much as flinching.
5) Lava Lizards. The male of this species is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the lizard world. They constant do push-ups, possible to regulate their body temperature and defend their territory.
6) Frigate Birds. These fish-eating birds are in a bit of bind because their feathers are not waterproof. Since they can’t dive for dinner, they must resort to stealing other species’ food. They have even been known to swoop in and steal food right out of a chick’s mouth.
7) Giant Tortoises. The granddaddies of the Galápagos, these tortoises enjoy a life span that surpasses our own. While not in any official record book, stories circulate of tortoises that are more than 200 years old.