Most Special Animals of the Galapagos Islands

Photo of two travelers with a huge Galapagos tortoise

April 13th, 2023 – Belen Guerrero

Come see the incredible Galapagos Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat!

Location map of the 15 most important species


Galapagos Tortoises are a species of giant tortoise that are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Today, they remain a symbol of the unique biodiversity and importance of conservation in the Galapagos Islands.

One of the most recognizable creatures of the Galapagos Islands is the Galapagos Giant Turtle, often known as the Galapagos Tortoise.

Because to their dome-shaped shells, which shield them from predators and extreme weather, Galapagos Giant Turtles have successfully adapted to the hard environment of the islands. They consume a range of flora, such as grasses, cactus pads, and fruit, as they are herbivores.

The Galapagos Islands’ history was significantly influenced by these tortoises. They were extremely overpopulated since they were once hunted for their meat and oil by sailors and pirates. Visitors may now see these incredible creatures in their native habitat on the islands thanks to conservation efforts that have protected and restored their populations.


  • Huge Size: The biggest turtles in the world are found on the Galapagos Islands. They can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh up to 500 pounds (225 kg) (1.5 meters).
  • Long Lifespan: These tortoises have a reputation for having lengthy lives; some have been recorded to live for over a century. Galapagos giant turtles have been known to live for more than 150 years, according to records.
  • Dome-Shaped Shell: The tortoise’s dome-shaped shell aids in protecting it from scavengers and bad weather.
    The shell’s bony plates are coated in a hard, scaly coating.
  • Legs that are Thick and Strong: The tortoise has legs that are thick and powerful, allowing it to walk through rocky terrain and sustain its heavy body weight.
  • Herbivorous Diet: Galapagos Giant Turtles are herbivores, feeding on a variety of vegetation such as grasses, cactus pads, and fruit.
  • Slow Metabolism: The very sluggish metabolism of these tortoises enables them to preserve energy and endure for extended periods of time without food or water.
  • Unique Shell Patterns: Each Galapagos Giant Turtle has a unique pattern on its shell, similar to a human fingerprint. These patterns can be used to identify individuals and track their movements over time.

These are only a few of the Galapagos Giant Turtle’s numerous unique characteristics. Be sure to take the time to see these incredible species up close if you ever have the chance to travel to the Galapagos Islands.

This wonderful species can be seen in different parts of the Galapagos Islands, such as: Santa Cruz and Isabela islands, but can also be seen in Española, Pinzón, Santiago or San Cristóbal.

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