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Galápagos penguins can only be found in the Galápagos Islands.

The Galápagos support three kinds of living things. Native species are found naturally in Galápagos and elsewhere. The frigatebird is a good example. So is the blue‑footed booby. Introduced species are found in the Galápagos because they were brought there by people, intentionally or accidentally. The goat is an example of an introduced species. Endemic species are only found in the Galápagos.

Because of the remote nature of the islands, many plants and animals are endemic. Strange things live here and only here. Lizards that swim. Giant tortoises. Meat‑eating centipedes. Blood‑sucking birds. Walking fish. Fish‑eating snakes. Some of these don’t seem to belong to this world. Others just don’t seem to belong in this part of the world.

Galápagos penguins are a rare find, indeed. They are one of the smallest penguins in the world. And they are the only penguins found north of the Equator. The cool waters of the Humboldt current carried them here long ago, and special behaviors allow them to thrive.

Galápagos penguins are black‑and‑white with small spots on their chests, as individual as fingerprints.

leaning in to cool down

The blue‑footed booby can be found in the Pacific, from California to Peru and on the Galápagos Islands.

The penguins weigh little more than a bag of sugar (2.5 kilograms, or 5.5 pounds). They dive in the cold‑water currents to depths of 50 meters (164 feet) to search for small fish and shellfish to eat.

To manage hotter temperatures on land, Galápagos penguins lean forward to shade their feet from the sun. They stretch their flippers out to the sides to release body heat from under their flippers. To protect their eggs from the sun, they tuck them in cool, rocky crevices.

Something Completly different

Hidden in Plain Sight

The Galápagos continue to surprise us with new forms of life. The hybrid iguana was only recently discovered. It is found only on the smallest island, South Plaza. The hybrid is a mash‑up that occurs when a male marine iguana mates with a female land iguana.

Life Science

Ecosystems and Endemic Species