Marine Iguanas


Found only on the Galapagos Islands, the marine iguana is a fierce-looking marine reptile but in fact these gentle creatures wouldn’t hurt a fly.  Their diet consists entirely of algae and seaweed.  Each island in the Galapagos has a slightly different species of lizard and their coloring changes depending upon which island you happen to visit.

The iguana above lives on the island of Espanola.  You can tell the Espanola iguanas by their reddish and black coloring.  The iguanas have spiky spines, a squashed looking face, and generally a mean looking countenance.  Their broad, flat tails enable them to swim in the water.

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On Fernandina Island the iguanas are almost all black with splotches of white on their upper sides.  When they sit motionless on the rocks (which seems to be most of the time) the look just like a chunk of lava with bird droppings on it.

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The Fernandina iguanas also tend to group together in large herds which can be a bit creepy when you’re walking next to them.



This iguana takes a piggy back ride on a big brother.  The iguanas have extremely sharp teeth for gnawing algae from the rocks.  You can see their distinctive teeth in this dead and  desiccated specimen laying on the beach at Fernandina Island.


Scientists theorize that these iguanas got to the Galapagos Islands by floating on logs or debris from the mainland and then adapted to their marine life.  That seems like a very long way for a pair of lizards to float but who knows?  Kongo found it interesting that these  lizards are different on every single island.

There are hundreds of thousands of these guys throughout all the Galapagos Islands and Kongo saw quite a few of them during his visit last week.

See many more of Kongo’s favorite Galapagos photos here.

Travel safe.  Have fun.

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