Various Critters (some of which are dead)
The first three creatures here are sort of second hand, we didn't see the Galapagos owl, or the Rice Rat, but here's a owl pellet that was once a Rice Rat. I'm sure you will agree it's almost as good as the real thing. For their long journeys from the South American mainland out to Galapagos, the ancestors of the Galapagos rats hold the world record for ocean crossings by land mammals. Although the number of extinct species seems to be debatable, at least three of the seven species of rice rats endemic to the Galapagos Islands are classified extinct. The four (ish) remaining species are N. narboroughii and N. fernandinae on Fernandina Island, N. swarthi (this one) on Santiago Island, and Oryzomys bauri on Santa Fe. I think I found this one on Santiago Island, so I can tell you who the victim was, but since there are short-eared and barn owls there, I can't tell you who the killer was. So the file remains open. The next corpse is that of a starfish, although they aren't fish, and are related to Sea Urchins. As far as I know have only been found on one planet, and this one was, I think, was a suicide. Apparently the evolution of the creature, more correctly known as a sea star, involved the development of a brain, which it then devolved, perhaps because of depression.
Phylum Echinodermata (echinoderms),
This corpse should have been human, or ex-human and, also, effectively suicide. However, Fausto avoided that fate because the Galapagos snake is not poisonous. Well he looked ok when we saw him last. I think the snake was more worried about the Galapagos Hawk than the humans, and metaphorically legged it, on release, to the underside of a shady rock.
This next sorry collection of bodies belongs to the Urchin family classified as echinoids (class Echinoidea) and related to the Sea Stars. They have been collected here to show swimmers what not to put their hands or feet on. The green ones are endemic to the Galapagos This is a small Ray, perfectly healthy I think, and just happened to be checking out the shore where we were standing. There were quite a few of them, so presumably they were there for food, sex or warmth. I didn't get that involved as to find out. One creature I did get to know quite well was the tame blue Parrot (A MacAw)at the Jungle Hotel. I'm not sure what the "A" stood for, or indeed if it was really Scottish. So here I am surrounded by admirers who are perhaps a little more protective of their fingers. I am told by the over credulous that they can bite through quarter inch steel plate. A fallacy I believe, or the bird would have carved straight through the door that I witnessed it laboriously trying to unlock. Finally, on the right, that which our secretary insists is a "triantula". Seen in the daytime, here in it's tree-side home it does have three rather cute hairy legs sticking out, but in the picture below you can see it has the usual complement of eight. Curiously, while there was a certain amount of respect, and a tendency not to stand directly underneath it, none of my fellow travelers appeared to consider how it got from it's day-time tree to the "bus shelter" in which you see it now at night, on the other side of the path to the huts.