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Giant Galapagos Tortoise Habitat – Rancho Primicias

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!

Visiting the 100 Year Old Tortoise at the Galapagos Tortoise Ranch.Pin

Interesting Galapagos Tortoise Facts:
  1. The Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest of the living tortoise species.
  2. They can weigh over 400 kg (880 lb) and grow to be 1.8 meters (5.9 ft) long. 
  3. There are currently 10 species of Galápagos tortoises.
  4. Lonesome George was the last of the 11th species that died on June 24, 2012.
  5. Galápagos tortoise life span in the wild is over 100 years old.
  6. The oldest known Galapagos tortoise (Harriet) kept in the Australia Zoo reached an estimated age of 170. 

Meeting the 100 Year Old Tortoise at the Galapagos Tortoise Ranch.PinVisiting the 100 Year Old Galapagos Tortoise at Rancho Primicias.Pin
Galapagos Tortoises.PinGalapagos Island Tortoise.Pin
Giant Galapagos Tortoise.Pin
Giant Tortoise Galapagos Islands.Pin
Giant Tortoises at Rancho Primicias.PinVisiting the 100 Year Old Galapagos Tortoise at Rancho Primicias.Pin
Giant Tortoise - Galapagos Animals.Pin
The Galapagos Tortoise - Galapagos Animals.PinGiant Tortoises - Galapagos Animals.Pin
100 Year Old Tortoise Galapagos Island Santa Cruz.Pin
Giant Tortoise - Galapagos Animals.Pin
The Galapagos Tortoise Facts.Pin
Giant Galapagos Tortoise.Pin
Galapagos Island Tortoise.PinGalapagos Turtle.Pin
Galapagos Tortoises.Pin
Visiting the 100 Year Old Galapagos Tortoise at Rancho Primicias.Pin
Visiting the 100 Year Old Tortoise in Galapagos Island Santa Cruz.Pin
We had a light snack here (included in the tour with Galapagos Alternative)
Snack at Rancho Primicias with Galapagos Alternative.PinSnack at Rancho Primicias at Galapagos Alternative.Pin
and they had a shop where you can buy yourself one of these babies as a souvenir:
Souvenirs at Rancho Primicias.Pin
Giant Tortoise Shells.PinShells of Giant Tortoises.Pin
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! :)

You can see a video montage of our Galapagos trip, or check out the recap of our full trip here.

xoxo estherJacob

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Quinn

    Love love love that first photo! That big fella just looks like he knows something that we don’t …

    1. esther julee

      haha they’re supposed to be herbivores, but i was convinced he wanted to eat me. :)

  2. Z K

    Oh gosh, I love all of these photos. The one of just the shell in the water is so cute. I had a tortoise (but a much, much smaller one) when I was younger and he was the cutest thing!

    1. esther julee

      Thanks so much @StraightUpZ:disqus! I’ve never had a pet tortoise or knew the difference bw the two until now, but had a pet turtle when I was younger. I’m also convinced that he was so awesome that he got stolen!

  3. Amanda Freerksen

    OMG!! The tortoises are seriously my #1 reason for wanting to visit the islands. Love these photos, and that souvenir! As for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, don’t they live in the sewer? Could that technically be considered living in water?? haha!

    1. esther julee

      Same here! The tortoises and the blue footed boobies. I don’t really know what the rules should be for the turtle versus tortoise.. Turtles are always awkward on land. Then again ninja turtles walk like human beings.. it’s all makes up for a really confusing childhood. haha

    1. esther julee

      Thank you so much Jessica! :) I like how we ended up posting photos from the Griffith Observatory on the same day!

  4. lol. jacobs expressions are hilarious. he looks like a little kid at a theme park.
    your ninja turtle revelation…funny! i had never thought of that. i’d be confused too.

    1. esther julee

      he always makes that face. i think it’s his “youtube” face. jacob made a point that in the video games, they do swim and fight bad guys in the water.

  5. Jennifer Chong

    Fun! The first photo is the best.. I mean I know you’re small anyhow.. but just the comparison is funny!

    1. esther julee

      haha I guess the comparison isn’t as good with the one with Jacob. :P

  6. I wouldn’t be able to stop snapping photos either :) What an amazing fellow to see up close and personal. Loved the shot of you guys in the shell. I can’t believe how massive the shell is!

    1. esther julee

      it was a photographer’s heaven. :) i think you would have loved it! Thanks!! I still can’t believe how huge they are. I saw photos of them before, but it’s just crazy to think you can fit in their shells… and those aren’t even the largest ones!

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