(Day 3, Fernandina Island, mid-morning)
As we sauntered around the islands, all the local animals carried on like tourists. Life was nothing but relaxed and easygoing. Eat if you are hungry. Sleep if you are tired. Play if you are happy. Etc, etc., etc…The humans? They mean nothing to these routines.
All the animals, that is, except for one – – the Galapagos Lava Lizard.
In such a country club existence, you cannot help but notice what appears to be the life of a prey. Even to the untrained eye, this creature is nothing, if not nervous.
They cannot and will not enjoy the oblivious living of their peers. A tiny denizen of the islands, they must continuously scan their surroundings.
Why? Because he has local predators: hawks, herons, snakes, scorpions… and, of all things, cannibalism from other lava lizards! The last part is a little crazy. And it brings a yoke of responsibility the rest of the animals don’t carry.
The Lava Lizard may be the only animal on the Galapagos with this malady.
One helpful collaborator: the marine iguana. This vastly larger cousin serves as useful perch to eye the horizon and surroundings.
I never did see the snakes that prey on these lizards. In truth, the lizard’s lot in life is akin to that of many creatures across the world. Perhaps the other residents of the Galapagos Islands take notice in two ways: appreciate how good life is here; and think twice before deciding to take the very long trek to some other corner of the earth.