Galapagos Land Iguana

Galapagos Land Iguana

The Galapagos Land Iguana is an amazing reptile. There are three species of Land Iguana on the Galapagos Islands.

This first photograph was taken on Santiago Island during a hike.

Some characteristics of the Land Iguana include their resemblance to a dragon. They grow to 3-5 feet long and weigh up to 25 pounds. They are herbivores feeding primarily on cactus and flowers. Most of their fluid intake is from the food they eat.

Land Iguanas are active during the day and can be seen lounging on dark volcanic rock to absorb the heat of the rock and sun. At night, they move into burrows for protection and to conserve body temperature.

The most widespread species, the Galapagos Land Iguana, can be seen on six archipelago islands. The Galapagos Pink Land Iguana is only found in the northern areas of Isabella Island, and the Santa Fe Land Iguana is only found on Santa Fe Island.

The three species of Galapagos Land Iguana are considered endangered. Their populations were predated upon by cats and dogs introduced to the islands during whaling days. Their habitat was reduced by free-roaming goats, also brought by whalers. Efforts are being made to remove the introduced predators and restore natural habitats.

This Land Iguana is typical of most of the species we encountered. Some were more brilliantly colored. We saw several different sizes. They all had the fear-inspiring spiny appearance that shouted, “Keep your distance.” However, they are not at all aggressive in their behavior.

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