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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 the Galápagos and else where. The frigatebird is a good example. Introduced species are also found in Galápagos. People brought them to the islands. The goat is a good example. Endemic species are only found in Galápagos.

Because the islands are so isolated, 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. Some of these don’t seem to belong to this world—or this part of the world!

For example, Galápagos penguins are the only penguins found north of the Equator. They’re one of the smallest penguins in the world. The cool waters of the Humboldt current carried them here long ago.

leaning in to cool down  

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

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

To manage hotter temperatures on land, Galápagos penguins lean forward. This shades their feet from the sun. They stretch their flippers out to the sides. This releases body heat from under their flippers.

Something completely different

Hidden in Plain Sight

The Galápagos surprise us with new forms of life. The hybrid iguana was just discovered. It is found only on the smallest island, South Plaza. A hybrid occurs when a male marine iguana mates with a female land iguana.

Galapagos Only

Liking Lava

The lava cactus is one of the first species to grow on new lava flows. It can be found in 11 places on just six islands.

Pucker Up

Some Galápagos animals, like the red‑lipped batfish, are odd. It can swim, but it uses its fins like legs to walk, instead. And what’s with those red lips? All we know is it is found in the Galápagos.

Life Science

Structure and Function