Giant Tortoises

giant tortoise santa cruz galapagos

Giant Tortoises

Giant Tortoises

Why They're Cool: Deep in the lush highlands of the Galapagos' wetter islands, you'll find these slow-moving giants, weighing up to 550 pounds and living up to 150 years! (Fun fact: The tortoise's shell gives hints about how old it is; older animals have shells that have been worn smooth from years of rubbing up against bushes and rocks.) Because baby tortoises are vulnerable to predators introduced by humans -- such as rats and dogs -- many of them are now raised in captivity by the Charles Darwin Foundation until they're about four years old, when they're returned to the wild with a better chance of survival.

Where to See Them: Santa Cruz (in the wild and at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora), San Cristobal, Isabela