Travel Dates 15th-19th April 2010.
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Or lizards by another name...
They are also similar to Australian goannas; squatter and fatter, but still very similar. As Darwin's next major port of call in the Beagle after the Galapagos was Australia I am sure the name "goanna" is not accidental. But more on that discussion later.
Just like the tortoises there are wet and dry iguanas. The land iguanas are generally larger and more colourful.
The land iguanas nest in shallow burrows up to a meter long; this pair of males are disputing their territory. Unfortunately for the onlookers - but fortunately for the loser - the near one retired from the fight after lots of posturing and nasty looks.
Most are various shades of gold and yellow, but not all.
The marine iguanas are generally about half their land cousin's size and are coloured grey, shading towards black.
They seem to regard their friends as useful pieces of real estate to walk across or sleep on.
The white colouring on the rocks is evidence of a lack of iguana sewerage technology. I wonder if it is also the root of the word "guano"?
The marine iguanas don't actually live in the sea but near it. They have developed the ability to swim and dive to reach the tasty lichens on the underwater rocks near the shore. You need to be careful walking near them. They are not aggressive but they have a habit of forcefully spitting salt-laden water from their nostrils without warning; it's their way of desalinating their drinking water.
At the beginning of the trip the group eagerly shot lots of pictures of every iguana in sight in the Charles Darwin Research Centre. After three or four days that had changed to "please be careful not to step on the iguanas" as we started to think "just another iguana". They are everywhere, as are the sea-lions which are coming up next.