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Galapagos Land Iguana

Galapagos Land Iguana

Gentle giants with a fearsome appearance

What you need to know about the Galapagos Land Iguana

The Galápagos Land Iguana is one of three native species in the archipelago. Recognisable by their large size and yellow skin they have quite a fearsome appearance, sporting large claws and powerful legs. However they are mainly herbivores, and their favourite food is the fruit and leaves of the prickly pear cacti that grow in the more arid parts of the islands.

The Galápagos Land Iguana can grow over 3 feet in length and weigh over 30 pounds, and they can live for up to 50 years in the wild. You can often see finches perched on an iguana’s back - the iguanas allow the birds to remove ticks and other pests from between their scales.

Despite their size, the Galápagos Land Iguana is officially listed as “vulnerable”. Their population has severely declined since the time of Darwin’s visit to the islands. The chief culprits are introduced species such as cats, dogs, pigs and rats. Indeed in 1976 the entire population on Santa Cruz island was wiped out in less than 6 months by wild dogs. The National Park is working hard to remove invasive species and protect natural habitats favored by the Galápagos Land Iguana, and captive breeding programs on Santa Cruz are actively building new populations.

Many of our Galapatours cruises feature extensive land excursions that will allow you to explore the islands where Galápagos Land Iguana’s can be found. Our expert naturalist guides will use their knowledge to really bring these fascinating creatures to life. If you are keen to see the Galápagos Land Iguana then speak to one of our Galápagos experts who can advise you on the best itineraries to maximise your chances of encountering this remarkable creature.

Galapagos Land Iguana: Interesting facts

Many people think Galápagos Land Iguana's resemble the mythical dragons of fairy tales!

Despite being cold blooded, Galápagos Land Iguanas often hide in the shade to avoid the midday heat

To conserve body heat at night, Galápagos Land Iguanas sleep in burrows they dig underground

Land Iguanas move slowly and deliberately - an adaptation that allows them to preserve body heat

Galapagos Land Iguana: Pictures from our travelers

Galapagos Land Iguana
Galapagos Land Iguana
Galapagos Land Iguana

Spots where the Galapagos Land Iguana can be observed

A walk on North Seymour
North Seymour

The island is named after an English nobleman, Lord Hugh Seymour and has an area of 1.9 square kilometers and a maximum altitude of 28 meters. This island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls and hosts one of the largest populations of frigatebirds. North Seymour has a visitor trail approximately 1.2 mi in length crossing the inland of the island and exploring the rocky coast.

North Seymour was formed at the same time as neighboring Baltra Island, and by the same process - an uplifting of undersea lava. This small, flat island has hiking trails throughout, allowing you to explore the arid landscape and to meet the seabirds that call North Seymour home.

North Seymour was the site of one of the earliest conservation experiments in the Galápagos. In 1934 a group of Galápagos Land Iguanas were moved there by Captain Hanckock. They have since thrivedthrived, and there are now well over 2,500 of them on the island and more than 3,000 on the neighbouring Baltra island.

The biggest attraction of North Seymour is its large colony of Blue-Footed Boobies and its Frigatebirds. These popular Galápagos species are often found together because the Frigatebirds rely on the Boobies’ fishing prowess. The Frigatebirds actively steal the Boobies catch to feed themselves!

There is also a population of Marine Iguanas and Galápagos Sea Lions are frequently spotted. The snorkeling here is also very good, with plenty of marine life to see including rays and reef sharks.

Our trips to spot the Galapagos Land Iguana

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