Description of the Galapagos land iguana
The land iguana is a reptile endemic to the Galapagos Islands. There are two species of land iguana in the Galapagos Islands: the Santa Fe land iguana and the Galapagos land iguana. They are large reptiles, reaching up to 4 feet in length and weighing up to 30 pounds. Their color varies depending on their age and sex, ranging from dark brown to grey and even black. Land iguanas have rough skin and scales on their backs, as well as strong claws for digging and climbing. Unlike marine iguanas, land iguanas cannot swim and prefer to live in dry habitats such as dry forests, scrublands and lava areas. They also have a different diet from marine iguanas. They mainly eat cacti, fruits, flowers, leaves and other plants. Land iguanas are solitary and territorial animals, spending most of their day basking in the sun to regulate their body temperature. They are also active at night and can be seen foraging for food or digging burrows for protection. It is a protected species due to its vulnerability to hunting, destruction of its natural habitat and competition with introduced animals such as rats, cats and goats.
When to see them?
The Galapagos land iguanas can be observed throughout the year. However, there are periods when they are easier to be observed: The best time to see them is during the dry season, which runs from June to December. During this time, iguanas often gather in large numbers to bask in the sun and regulate their body temperature. Male iguanas also become more territorial during this period, which can lead to aggressive behavior toward other iguanas and increased breeding activity. During the wet season, which runs from January to May, land iguanas are more difficult to be observed as they disperse more in their natural habitat to find food and water.
Where to observe them?
The Galapagos land iguanas can be observed on several islands of the archipelago. However, there are some islands where their observation is more frequent and easier: These islands are South Plaza, Isabela, Fernandina and Santiago.