Galapagos Reptiles: From Real Life to the Big Screen

Reptiles make up an important part of the Galapagos population, with the two most well-known reptiles being the famed marine iguanas—which propel themselves through the water with long tails and then dive down to feed on underwater algae before returning to land to recover their body temperature with long rests on hot rocks—and the giant tortoises—which can live upwards of 200 years.

Beyond sharing the commonalities of reptiles, the marine iguanas and the giant tortoises also share another feature: a face only a momma could love. And oh yeah, movie directors too. Take a look at these two animals and see what first comes to mind.

Did the tortoise make you think of E.T.? Legend has it that Stephen Spielberg fashioned E.T. after a tortoise, and hey I believe it. When they extended their long necks, I half expected them to voice, “E.T. phone home.”

The only noise they made, however, was a deep breathing sound reminiscent of Darth Vader and some pretty nasty masticating sounds (they’re messy eaters!).

As for the marine iguanas, well, I just can’t look at them without thinking Godzilla. This thought is especially prominent when they stick their head up over the top of a rock, like Godzilla towering over a building. Don’t tell me that you can’t see it.

Land iguanas, a species closely related to the marine iguanas, but without the ability to swim, also look quite similar to Godzilla but their more rounded faces and bright yellow coloring makes it not as much of a match for me. Decide for yourself, however.