Galapagos Tortoise Migration

June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment


Male Tortoise in the Santa Cruz Highlands May 2011

In June, the climate changes in the Galapagos Islands.  The temperatures are cooled by the arrival of the Humboldt Current from South America.  A garua (marine layer) begins to cover the islands – especially in the highlands. As the seasons change tortoises make their way down the islands to the southwest coast of Santa Cruz.

Cold blooded animals, Galapagos Tortoises find it hard to moderate their body temperatures during the cooler season.  The males who have a larger body find it easier to regulate their temperatures and many remain in the highlands year round.  While the females are substantially smaller animals find it necessary to migrate in order to keep their body temperature levels up.  It is here, along the coast where the tortoises lay their eggs.

In April of 2009 the National Park began fitting tortoises with GPS devices in order to monitor their migration patterns.  The project began with 8 tortoises – males and females of different ages.  Today the project has been studying 41 tortoises are being studied.  You can meet the tortoises and follow their migration at


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