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'Godzilla'-like Marine Iguana Caught Swimming, Feeding On Camera [Video]

Apr 14, 2016 05:10 AM EDT
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Marine iguanas
Galapagos marine iguanas are classified as a vulnerable species.
(Photo : Paul Krawczuk/Flickr via Creative Commons)

If you ever wanted to experience swimming with "Godzilla," this stunning video might give you a hint.

In a footage courtesy of Steve Winkworth on YouTube, the clip shows a marine iguana swimming and feeding at the Galapagos Islands. Divers scuba diving in the Cabo Marshall stumbled upon this magnificent reptile, whose ecological adaptations over time have been quite a feat.

Charles Darwin himself described iguanas as hideous and "most disgusting, clumsy lizards." However, despite their infamous reputation, the video shows their gracefulness in the clear blue waters.

In the video, the marine iguana is seen feeding. With its short, razor-like teeth and claws, it's easy to think they might be up to something bloody and menacing. But these reptiles are actually herbivores, mainly living off seaweed and underwater algae.

In the footage, the marine iguana with its swishy yet scaly tail, flat eyes and scaly skin is seen scraping off green algae from rocks with their sharp teeth and short blunt snouts -- totally unlike Godzilla's crazy rampage through Tokyo.

It might be a little unsettling to see such a rare creature be so gentle, but it is more upsetting to know that marine iguanas are actually a threatened species.

The marine iguana measures 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) or relative to an average size of a human being. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List declared their status to be vulnerable, with their exact numbers unknown. They constantly face threats from pollution like oil spills and natural predation.

As an iconic symbol of the Galapagos, marine iguanas are a protected species. Here's hoping this won't be the last time we can see this rare, gentle Godzilla-like creature swimming freely in our waters.

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