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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Giant Tortoises in the Galapagos Islands




Every now and then I have to look at our photos from the Galapagos Islands, just to remind myself we really were there. Here's a long shot of two giant tortoises resting in the shade at the Darwin Research Station. A closeup of one with its mouth open -- who would have thought such a large green animal would have such a cute pink mouth? And our guide Karina got this old fella to smile for her. The rules on the islands are definitely look-but-don't-touch, and Karina knows how to get their attention without touching them.

3 comments:

aka Penelope said...

The top forest photo looks mysterious and inviting! And what stories the turtle could tell. He looks friendly. I suppose because he has no enemies, just curious people at his doorstep.

Kay L. Davies said...

Unfortunately, the Giant Tortoises on the Galapagos Island did have one enemy ...man. Ships used giant tortoises as a meat source that didn't require refrigeration (this before refrigeration was invented) because the poor creatures stayed alive in the hold of a sailing ship for a long time, so there was always fresh meat.
Unfortunately, it was later discovered that the Giant Tortoise had evolved slightly differently on each of the islands, each having its own characteristics. Breeding between males and females from different islands was seldom successful at the Charles Darwin Research Station pictured above. The book "Lonesome Charlie" tells of the problem encountered when the tortoise population of one island was down to a single individual, one "lonesome" male.

aka Penelope said...

Awwww … seems like we humans will eat just about anything. I guess we eventually come to our senses and that is why people now make a great effort to protect the different species in the Galapagos.