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Galapagos For Kids: Two Galapagos Clowns

We’re going to the circus! Well, sort of. We’re going to the Galapagos. The name “Blue footed booby” means clowns. And Sally lightfoot crabs act like clowns.

Please welcome, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages: The two Galapagos clowns!

Sally Lightfoot Crabs


Sally lightfoot crabs are very common in the Galapagos Islands. If you go to a beach with lots of rocks, or even the wharf where you arrive, there will be a sally lightfoot crab (or maybe fifteen) there to welcome you.

Sally lightfoot crabs can grow up to about 4 in. (10 cm.) long! But despite their small size, they are very strong. When we stayed at Red Mangrove, I watched some of these crabs at high-tide – which was really cool. There is a wharf that you can see from the deck. When the waves came in they washed right over the little concrete wharf which was covered in sally lightfoot crabs. But the little crabs didn’t even budge, they just held on tight!

It is really cute to watch them eat; it looks like they are eating with little tweezers! They can also jump from one rock to the next. They looked like big, red, jumping spiders. Once, I saw them ‘walk on water’! It was so cool – they jumped off the rock onto the water and just kept right on jumping until they got to the other side.

Sometimes these crabs crawl on marine iguanas – and the iguanas don’t even care. It seems they actually like it. The crabs pick off parasites and other things like dead skin. Gross!

They have small, round eyes and a bluish underside, but are mostly an orange-red color.  Learn more about Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Blue Footed Boobies


The name Blue Footed Boobies originally means clowns. The Booby gets its name from a Spanish term bobo (which means ‘stupid’ or ‘fool’ or ‘clown’). As their name suggests, they both have blue feet and act a little like clowns. You know how circus clowns where huge shoes to make their feet look bigger? Well, Blue Footed Boobies have huge feet too! Except their big feet are even funnier, they’re blue and real! It is very common to see Blue footed boobies with Sally lightfoot crabs.

The fishing style of the boobies is very unique. They will fly up high and then dive down like an arrow into the water. They will keep doing this and continue to drive the fish closer into shore. As they do this it may be easier to catch the fish, but the waves pose constant threat. Some birds die when fishing.

Blue footed boobies have a brownish head, white body and, of course, blue feet.


So there you have it, the two Galapagos clowns. If you get to go to the Galapagos you will be able to see these two funny creatures! Thank you for reading!

About the author: Drew Haines Hi, I’m Drew Haines.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Nana November 28, 2012, 5:24 PM

    Great Article , Drew ! I didn’t know that the Galapagos had clowns.& I love all your pictures. 🙂


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