Galapagos Island Mammals

Galapagos Island Mammals

Galapagos Sea Lions | Galapagos Fur Seals | Galapagos Rice Rats | Galapagos Red Bat | Galapagos Hoary Bat

Mammals are rare in the Galapagos Islands and include only those which could make the long journey from the South American continent. Other ways that mammals arrived at the islands are – bats which flew there, rats which probably arrived on floating vegetation and seals and sea lions which could swim to the islands.

Most mammals on the Galapagos islands were introduced by human settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of these mammals escaped into the wild and now cause serious problems for the native flora and fauna.

The mammals that have been imported on the islands are having a dramatic impact on native plants and native species of birds, reptiles and molluscs. Feral cats and dogs are predators for defenseless native animals such as iguanas and seabird chicks. Rats prey on bird and reptile eggs and hatchlings.

Other wild mammals, such as goats and donkeys are reproducing out of control and have devastating effects on native vegetation.

There are only four types of native mammals that actually live on the islands, Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Rats and Bats. There are two different species of bat in the islands, the Galapagos Red Bat and the Hoary Bat.

Click on the photographs or links to find out more information about them:

Galapagos Sea Lions Galapagos Fur Seal
Galapagos Rice Rat Galapagos Red Bat
Photo courtesey of
Charles Lewis

Galapagos Hoary Bat

Galapagos Sea Lions | Galapagos Fur Seals | Galapagos Rice Rats | Galapagos Red Bat | Galapagos Hoary Bat


Other marine mammals you may see when cruising the islands are whales and dolphins. The seven whale species regulary recorded in the archipelago are finback whale, sei whale, humpback whale, minke whale, sperm whale, killer whale and pilot whales.

Bottlenose dolphins can often be seen surfing the bow waves of boats. At night the dolphins make the ocean to glow around them with bioluminiscense as they stir up thousands of tiny phosphorescent creatures that light up when disturbed.