On the first day that we arrived on Santa Cruz Island, we got to make a stop at Rancho Primicias, which is a giant Galapagos tortoise ranch. There were tons of photo ops here. I was really excited to be able to photograph one of the most iconic animals of Galapagos Islands! :)
The rule is that you stay 2 meters away, but as long as you’re respectful of the animals, they aren’t too strict with this rule. These guys were huge and a bit intimidating for me to get close to. They kept making grunting sounds, and I wasn’t sure if it would attack me at any point, but I was told that they are docile creatures.
Can’t believe I took so many photos. I seriously couldn’t stop!
Interesting Galapagos Tortoise Facts:
- The Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest of the living tortoise species.
- They can weigh over 400 kg (880 lb) and grow to be 1.8 meters (5.9 ft) long.
- There are currently 10 species of Galápagos tortoises.
- Lonesome George was the last of the 11th species that died on June 24, 2012.
- Galápagos tortoise life span in the wild is over 100 years old.
- The oldest known Galapagos tortoise (Harriet) kept in the Australia Zoo reached an estimated age of 170.
We had a light snack here (included in the tour with Galapagos Alternative)
and they had a shop where you can buy yourself one of these babies as a souvenir:
All photos above were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and 70-200mm / 2.8L lens.
I had to look up the difference between the Galapagos tortoise and Galapagos turtle. I had no idea until now that tortoises are land dwelling creatures while turtles are water dwelling creatures. Serious question: Why are the ninja turtles not water dwelling? I can see why I’ve always been confused.
Going to the Galapagos Islands also started making me think of how humans affect the livelihood of different animals. These tortoises are considered threatened / vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It’s sad to think I photographed a species of tortoises this year, but they might cease to exist in my lifetime.
Which photo is your favorite above? Let me know in the comments below, and I might send you a little surprise in the mail! :)