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Galapagos reptilesGALAPAGOS REPTILESGalapagos reptiles

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The Galapagos Islands are a World Heritage Site. One of the things that sets them apart is the uniqueness of the animals — especially the reptiles: ninety percent of the reptiles are endemic — found nowhere else on Earth. In 1845, Charles Darwin wrote that the Galapagos Islands seemed like "paradise" for reptiles. He was right. The Galapagos are dry and hot much of the year, and there's not much to eat. Reptiles are adapted to these conditions. Their scaly skin is effective protection against the sun, and they can find shade if they're hot. And they have a slow metabolism, being "cold-blooded," and therefore don't need a lot of food. The Galapagos Islands also favor reptiles due to the lack of competition or predators in the form of native mammals. In the absence of mammals, Galapagos reptiles evolved to fill available niches. This is why most of the islands' 22 reptile species are endemic. The land reptiles are divided into four main groups: tortoises, iguanas and lizards, geckos, and snakes. (Photos and information on marine turtles and marine iguanas are in Galapagos Sealife.)

Click below for reptile photos and natural history information:

tortoise head photo tortoise group photo tortoises

Santa Fe land iguana photo Seymour land iguana photo land iguana

lava lizard photo lava lizard

Galapagos snake photo snake

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