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When we planned our trip to the Galapagos, I anticipated being wowed by the giant tortoises and interesting sea birds. What I didn’t expect, was all the marine iguanas. These ocean going reptiles are everywhere on the islands. They cover the rocks, they cover the walking paths, little ones pile on top of the larger ones.

Marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a dragon, although they tend to be under four feet long.  Their skin is covered with tiny scales that are usually a dark grey, sometimes with bright splotches. They have a line of spiky protrusions running down their backs to their muscular tails.

The most incredible thing about marine iguanas is that they go in the water. They are amazing swimmers, although they can’t stay in the water very long. Marine iguanas are cold blooded and quickly become sluggish if they stay in the cold water too long. Only the largest males can dive down to eat the juiciest algae from the rocks underwater. The smaller ones have to stay close to shore. When they come out of the water, they bask in the sun until their bodies warm up again.

Because their diet involves eating algae from salt water, the marine iguana has evolved a unique way of ridding the body of salt. They have specialized glands that allow them to expel the salt from their nostrils. It felt like the iguana were sneezing at us as our tour group was walking around.

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Would you like to be part of Midge & Snig’s adventure in the Galapagos? Want to have your name (or any name you choose) in my next book? From now until the end of April, everyone who follows my blog, signs up for my newsletter, or leaves a comment, will be entered in a drawing for the chance to name the cruise ship featured in the book.

This post in part of the AtoZ Challenge. Please click on the sunflower AtoZ icon in the sidebar to go to the official list of participating blogs. This year my theme is the Galapagos Islands. I am in the process of writing the first of my Midge & Snig mystery series set in the islands. In my research, I have come across a plethora of interesting facts and images. The vast majority of my research won’t get included in the book, but it’s fun to share what I’ve learned with you all.

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