Friday, August 03, 2007

Galapagos reptiles everywhere!

May, 2007

Here in the Galapagos the islands are literally crawling with reptiles! Probably the most famous is of course the endemic Galapagos tortoise. These huge behemoths wander freely on the upslope hills on Santa Cruz Island. This particular beauty is part of the captive breeding program at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora.

And of course not to be outdone by a mere tortoise, the endemic marine iguana lounges in huge numbers throughout the different islands, basking in the sun and warming up before going after its "prey" (algae) in the nutrient-rich but cold waters surrounding the archipelago. To swim with an iguana in the ocean is a rare treat indeed.
Much more colorful than the marine iguanas are the dragon-like land iguanas. This baby was lumbering along on the path, unconcerned about the strange humans laying on their bellies trying to get eye level photographs of it. With no predators to worry about as an adult it seems not to have a worry in the world!

But perhaps my favorite reptile here in the islands is the ubiquitous lava lizard. Such magnificent coloration and a personality to go with those flamboyant colors! Whether doing push-ups to frighten me off, or defending its territory against another intruding lava lizard, these fast little reptiles are quite the showman.