Wildlife In The Galapagos

Most travelers go to the Galapagos Islands in order to experience the wildlife. There is stunning geology and natural features here although the strange and extremely timid animals truly captures people’s attention. Most of the animals here are considered megafauna. Megafuana is an animal being in a small environment devoid of major predators becoming larger, filling a different niche and becoming extremely specialized. The problem that megafuana face is that being extremely specialized they do not adjust to change well. In the past megafuana became extinct because of natural phenomena like volcanic eruptions, cooler periods or warming periods in the planets cycle. Sadly most megafuana in the last hundred years became extinct because of humans or domesticated animals gone feral.

The Galapagos is one of the last places on earth with extensive megafuana. Places like Australia, New Zealand, Crete, North America, Hawaii and countless other little islands used to have extensive megafuana populations. In the Galapagos Islands a traveller can get a glimpse of what the world used to look like before humans came along.

Galapagos Hawk

  • Islands: Extinct on the islands of Baltra, Daphne, Floreana ,San Cristobal and Seymour
  • Habitat: The interior and coastline of islands
  • Diet: Insects, small rodents, snakes, baby Iguanas, baby turtles and baby birds
  • Danger: Is the only large raptor on the island making it the terror of all small animals

The Caribbean caters well for scuba divers. There are dive-shops on most of the islands and it is perfectly possible to try the sport out for the first time while you are there. You do not need to be trained in advance or to go on a specific scuba diving holiday. With the PADI ‘resort course’ that is available in most islands, it is quite possible to get underwater within a day–it consists of safety instruction and a tester in a pool followed by a guided open-water dive on the reef.

The Future of the Hawk

The Galapagos Hawk is a recent arrival to the islands only coming 300,000 years ago. These birds are known for their fearless nature towards humans and other animals. Like most raptors the females are larger being 55 cm from beak to tail and 120 cm from wing tip to wing tip. These birds hunt in groups at about 50 to 200 feet in the air, with the dominate bird being allowed to eat its fill before the others are allowed to start. Due to the proximity to the equator there is no distinct breeding season and nests are built in low trees or lava wedges and occasionally on the ground itself.

These birds hunt in groups at about 50 to 200 feet in the air, with the dominate bird being allowed to eat its fill before the others are allowed to start.

Sadly the number of these birds has dwindled to only about 150 mating pairs, although there has been a come back in recent years. The closest relative to the Galapagos Hawk is Swainson’s Hawk.

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