Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle – Species Spotlight

Known for its colorful shell and unique bird-like beak, the hawksbill sea turtle is one of the most endangered species on the planet. This turtle is on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species. In the last century, the population of hawksbill sea turtles declined by 80%. Because of their beautiful upper shell, hawksbill sea turtles are usually killed and illegally traded as jewelry, combs, and decorative items. They are also threatened by fishing nets and plastic waste in the oceans.

 

About The Species: Eretmochelys imbricata

Hawksbill Sea Turtles’ diets consist almost entirely of sponges, for their beaks allow them to eat prey that is in small crevices and holes; however, they also eat a considerable amount of anemones, squid, and shrimp. They are smaller than most sea turtles, weighing 100-150 pounds and growing up to 3.5 feet. Hawksbill sea turtles are brown, yellow, and orange and have two claws on each flipper. They usually live for about 30 – 50 years.

Hawksbill Sea Turtles are found in the tropical areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. In order to lay their eggs, hawksbill sea turtles migrate from feeding to nesting sites. One reason why they are critically endangered is because they only mate once every two to three years. The eggs that are laid take 60 days to hatch and are vulnerable to a variety of crabs and seagulls.

 

Do they matter?

Yes! Hawksbill sea turtles are not only one of the world’s most beautiful animals, but also, they are incredibly important for the balance of coral reef ecosystems. They are able to help corals grow by eating over 1,000 pounds of sponges per year. If hawksbill sea turtles didn’t exist, coral reefs would be infested with sponges, making it harder for other fish to feed and thrive. Hawksbill sea turtle eggs also provide nutrients for the beach.

Organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund and See Turtles help the hawksbill sea turtle by protecting sea turtle habitats, tracking turtles’ migration and mating patterns, and urging fisherman to use turtle-safe nets and hooks. Hoping to save the next generations of sea turtles, the Billion Baby Turtle project helps make nesting sites of sea turtles safer for young hatchlings, in order to help the babies survive and return to lay their own eggs. Billion Baby Turtles has helped 500,000 baby sea turtles reach the ocean (click here to learn more!). In order to encourage others to help hawksbill sea turtles, the World Wildlife Fund runs a competition called Smart Gear, where people enter their ideas to solve wildlife problems such as the sea turtle decline.

Help save the hawksbill sea turtle by spreading awareness, supporting conservation efforts, and symbolically adopting a sea turtle here:

https://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/Sea-Turtle.aspx

 

Fun Facts:

-A glowing hawksbill sea turtle was seen in the Pacific Ocean.

-Baby hawksbill sea turtles can’t dive deep and must stay floating when young.

-Hawksbill sea turtle meat is poisonous.

-Hawksbill sea turtles probably evolved from carnivorous turtles.

-The sand tracks of a hawksbill sea turtle are asymmetrical, for it moves from side to side as it crawls.

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