Photo of the Week: Side By Side
Not everyone knows that the Galapagos Islands were named for their giant tortoises: the old Spanish word galapagos meant “saddle”, a description early explorers used to reference the shell shape of these native tortoises.
This week’s photo features a side by side comparison – giant tortoise versus human. These gentle land giants can weigh up to 550 pounds (250 kilograms). Perhaps its most impressive adaptation is the ability to survive up to a year without food or water!
Over-hunting as well as the introduction of foreign species, such as rats that prey on tortoise eggs and hatchlings, have resulted in the near extinction of giant tortoises in the Galapagos over the centuries. Thankfully conservation efforts to protect these tortoises and other endangered species began with the establishment of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation in 1959.
Watch these giant tortoises in (very slow) action…
Click here to read more about conservation efforts in the Galapagos.