Don't ever plan to visit the Galápagos islands if you're not a fan of creepy-crawly creatures.
Lizards and iguanas are everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. In a future post I'll include some pictures that illustrate that point, but for now I thought I'd explain the two types of iguanas that we saw over the course of our trip, both of which can only be found in the Galápagos: the land iguana and the marine iguana.
You could always tell where a land iguana might be hiding out; his trail in the sand would betray him.
Yep, there he was, cooling down under a bush.
One of his brothers chose to soak up rays on the beach instead.
Aren't they fascinating? Look at that little smirk, I love it. The prehistoric vibe was in the air -- it was kind of eerie. I'm pretty sure all of the iguanas were thinking, "Yeah, keep taking your pictures, morons... Our kind will be here long after you suckers are gone."
Then there were the marine iguanas, who were extremely interesting to observe because they're the only type of iguana in the world that can both live and eat out in the sea. When they swim, they move their long tails side to side in the water -- they don't use their legs to paddle or anything, so the end result is a very unique type of motion that is hard to describe. They glide along with their heads peeking out above the surface, swaying back and forth. I got a kick out of watching them.
From island to island the marine iguanas looked slightly different (hello, evolution!), but my favorites were what our guides called the "Christmas iguanas." The origin of their nickname is obvious from the shots below.
I thought this picture was funny because it shows how big the marine iguana is compared to the little lava lizards that run all over the place (they're another species that is endemic to the islands). The iguana is like, "Watch out, fool!"
These guys spend most of their days lying in the sun, slowing crawling around the beaches, spitting at each other and fighting. I was lucky enough to catch two males in a showdown on Española island (fifty-three second video below -- none of the voices in it are mine). The head-bobbing move never ceased to crack me up. That's supposed to be threatening?
I saw a lot of iguanas with blood on their heads; fights are pretty common. What else are they going to do? They bite each other and don't let go for a long time -- they are straight-up gangsta! Perhaps that's why many of them were heading down the trail to our zodiac drop-off... they hoped to stow away on our ship and get a break from all of the violence.
Sorry, guys -- humans only.