HAWKSBILL TURTLE FACTS
Scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricata
Conservation status: Critically Endangered (Population decreasing)
Clutch size: 140
Mass: Adults up to 80kg
Length: Adults up to 1 m
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of sea turtles for their colorful shells, the hawksbill is found in tropical waters around the world. They spend their time in coral reefs, rocky areas, lagoons, mangroves, oceanic islands, and shallow coastal areas.
More about Hawksbills:
Named for its narrow head and sharp, bird-like beak, hawksbills can reach into cracks and crevices of coral reefs looking for food. Their diet is very specialized, feeding almost exclusively on sponges. One of the smaller turtles, adults weigh between 100-200 pounds (45 – 90 kg) and reach 2-3 feet (roughly .5 to 1 meter) in length.
The beautifully-colored hawksbill sea turtle is named for their beak shaped like a raptor, used to pry food from small crevices in coral reefs. They live in tropical waters around the world primarily in reefs but in some regions in mangroves.
Hawksbill Facts & Tidbits
- “Tortoiseshell” actually refers to hawksbill shells and in many places, their shells are used to make jewelry and other trinkets.
- The Eastern Pacific population of these turtles may be the world’s most endangered, with fewer than 1,000 estimated to love from Mexico all the way to Ecuador.
- This turtle’s diet is very specialized; their favorite meal is the sea sponge.
- One of the smaller sea turtles, adults generally weigh between 100 – 200 lbs and are 2-3 feet long.
Hawksbills are found primarily in tropical oceans, generally in and around coral reefs. Along the Pacific coast of the America’s (primarily El Salvador and Nicaragua), they can be found in mangrove estuaries. They can be found in dozens of countries including many Caribbean islands, both coasts of Nicaragua, Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered / Population Trend: Decreasing
They are threatened by consumption of their eggs, unsustainable fishing practices, use of their shells for jewelry, and unsustainable coastal development.
Learn more about hawksbills on the SEE Turtles website.