Thursday, November 1, 2007

Symbol of the Galapagos Islands

I thought today we’d move way from the Amazon to the Galapagos Islands. Of course, the first animal that comes to mind is the Giant Tortoise. The Giant Tortoise can weigh over 500 pounds and measure 5 to 6 feet long and be 3 feet high. In the 18th and 19th centuries these land tortoises were almost hunted to extinction by sailors killing them for their meat.

Galapagos tortoises vary in shape. The tortoises with flat or saddle-shaped carapaces (shells) live on the coastal lands. They eat leaves from low-branched trees and shrubs. The highland tortoises have larger, dome-shaped shells and feed on plants, grasses, and fallen fruit. A favorite food is the Manzanillo fruit (or poison apple). If a person eats a few, it’s deadly!

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