Marine Iguana of Galapagos Island

Meet the mysterious Marine Iguana of Galapagos Island. They are not dangerous and are not afraid of humans either.


This iguana Amblyrhynchus cristatus is an endemic species and lives in all the Islands in Galapagos living solely on the lava rocky sea beaches.

These animals may look evil or disgusting but they are not dangerous and in fact can become a nice family pet if they were not a unique and protected species of course.

marine iguana of galapagos island

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The Galapagos marine iguanas have an average size of 2 to 3 feet, their long tails are used for swimming and they are a bit different from island to island regarding its colors and size. But in the end they are all the same species.

Iguana colors change from black when they are young to a mixture of red, black and green when they are older. If you want to see the most colorful iguanas in Galapagos you should visit Espanola Island

The smallest marine iguana of Galapagos Island is found on Genovesa Island, and the largest can be seen on Isabela Island and on Fernandina Island

It is a fact that the marine iguanas from Galapagos are the only seagoing lizards in the world.

Marine iguanas need the sun to warm up because they are ectothermic or also know as cold-blooded.

Iguanas are vegetarians and feed mainly on seaweed (algae) and after they swim in the ocean, they have to lie around the lava rocks to warm up in the sun again.

The marine iguana of Galapagos Island has a rounded mouth with sharp teeth, this make it easier for iguana to scratch the algae from the rocks and feed.

Compared to the Galapagos Land Iguana the marine iguanas have long and sharp claws.

They use their claws to grip to the black volcanic rocks on the shore to avoid being pulled away by the sea waves.

Galapagos marine iguanas are considered to be good swimmers.

They use their flat tails and move their bodies fast from side to side for swimming and they can also dive to a depth of around 5 mts and sometimes more.

When the marine iguana of Galapagos Island is unable to find enough food, it gets smaller in size.

But this reduction in size is only temporary because the iguana will grow again when it finds more food to eat.

After feeding the marine iguanas will spend most of the day resting and sunbathing on the black Lava rocks near the beach.

Marine Iguanas live in large colonies, you can see hundreds of them moving and crawling around the rocks in Galapagos.

But remember they are not hostile animals so don't be afraid of them.

The marine iguana of Galapagos Island is still considered a species in risk because of the mainland's introduced animals such as dogs, wildcats, goats, pigs and also because of the last Galapagos Island Oil Spill that have become a serious threat.

See a Gallery of Beautiful Galapagos Island Pictures

But fortunately the government of Ecuador and the Galapagos National Park are protecting the marine iguanas (and all Galapagos species) from these predators and other marine threats.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


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Galapagos Packing Check List

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If you have questions about the Marine Iguana of Galapagos Island, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Island Cruises to visit this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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