Hawksbill turtle

The hawksbill turtle is also known as hawksbill sea turtle. Scientific name of the hawksbill turtle is Eretmochelys

The Hawksbill Turtle

A beautiful hawksbill turtle swimming in lagoon water

imbricata. This hawksbill turtle is from the family Cheloniidae. Eretmochelys imbricata is the only extant species of the genus Eretmochelys. They have two subspecies and they are found in Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Subspecies E. imbricata imbricata is found in the Atlantic and the subspecies E. imbricata bissa is from the Indo Pacific region. The hawksbill ocean turtle is similar to other marine turtle. Normally it has flattened body structure, a protective shell and flipper arms. This type of body structure helps them to swim in the sea. Hawksbill turtle can be easily differentiated from the other sea turtles by its smooth, curving mouth with famous tomium and the saw like appearance from its shell. With the changing of the temperature of the water hawksbill turtles slightly change their colors. This species spends more life time in the coral reefs and lagoons than the open ocean. Over fishing practice of human is a red alert in the way of their continued existence. Hawksbill turtles are the main source if tortoise shells. These shells are used in making of many kinds of decorative items.


Like the other marine turtle they have a depressed body structure and flipper limbs for swimming. The normal length of an adult sea turtle is 3 ft (1000 mm) and the average weight is 180 pound (80 kg). According to the thesis papers the heaviest hawksbill turtle ever captured was measured to be 280 pound or approximately 127 kg. The hawksbill’s shell has a combination of irregular light and dark colors and from the side black and brown colors radiation occurs. Now take a look to their reproduction system. In the Atlantic region the mating season starts from the April and it ends in the November. On the other hand in the Indian region mating season starts from September and ends in the February. When the mating is over, during night the female turtle drags her heavy body high in to the beach. Using her rear flipper she cleans an area and digs a nesting hole. After this the female turtle lays eggs in the nest and covers the eggs by sands. Around 140 eggs are laid at a time. When the eggs are covered by the sands the female turtle goes back to the sea. After two months at night new baby turtles are come from the eggs.  The average weight of newly born turtle is 24 grams. They are around 1 inch long and dark black in color. They walk into the sea water but the babies who are unable to go to water during the night period are attacked by the shore crabs and shore birds in the day.


Sea sponges are the main food of the hawksbill turtle. From the sea sponges about 85 percent diet comes for the hawksbills. They also eat cnidarians comb jellies, algae, jelly fishes and other sea anemones. Even the hawksbills eat the toxic jelly fishes and sponges. Hawksbill sea turtles are solitary for most of their life time like the other marine turtles. As they have tough shells they are only attacked by sharks, pelagic fishes, octopuses and estuarine crocodiles. Though it is illegal to hunt hawksbill turtle in many countries but they are taken by humans around the whole world. As a delicacy they are eaten by humans in many countries. The hawksbill turtle shells are very costly as they are heavy and beautiful. Many cultures use these shells as a decorative item. High demand for the shells is the main cause of the turtles hunting.

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