|Galapagos is home to many unique, endemic animals, most of which are fearless due to the lack of natural predators. One of the best known is the Galapagos giant tortoise that has evolved into fourteen distinct forms on the different islands of the archipelago. Other reptiles include the Galapagos marine iguana which grazes on seaweed, land iguanas, lava lizards, geckos and snakes.
The only terrestrial mammals in the Galapagos Islands are rice rats and two species of bats. The 13 species of small, Galapagos finches are adapted to a range of different foods and are known collectively as Darwin's finches. They have been important to scientists trying to understand how evolution occurs, and include the tool-using woodpecker finch. Other endemic Galapagos Island animal are land birds that include the Galapagos hawk, dove, flycatcher, rail and four species of mockingbird.
Among the endemic sea birds are a flightless cormorant, two species of gull, and the only Galapagos penguin species, which lives in tropical waters. The waved albatross breeds solely on Espanola Island, while colonies of blue-footed, red-footed, and masked boobies are found alongside frigatebirds.
The Galapagos sea lions and fur seals are found around the coasts, while dolphins, whales and sea turtles are common. Over 300 species of fish have already been described from the rich ocean waters around the Galapagos Islands.
There are also at least 1,600 species of insects, 80 spiders, 300 beetles, 150 mites, 80 land snails, 650 seashells and other mollusks, 200 starfishes and urchins, 120 crabs, and many other smaller make part of the Galapagos Island animal.