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Hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata


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credit: Ecocentrik Guy

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Alternate name: Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Family: Cheloniidae, Sea Turtles view all from this family

Description Snout similar to a hawks beak. Carapace is keeled towards the back. Green/brown with mottling. Overlapping scutes, 4 costal scutes and 4 on bridge. Yellowish plastron. Plastron on males is a little concave.

Dimensions 76-91cm. (30-36")

Endangered Status The Hawksbill is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. This turtle has suffered from degradation of its habitat and pollution. It has been killed in huge numbers for its meat and eggs, its calipee, which is used in turtle soup, and its handsome shell, used to make tortoise shell jewelry. International trade restrictions on tortoise shell have helped. Additionally, Hawksbills were once frequently caught in the nets of shrimp trawlers, but turtle excluder devices have reduced this threat significantly.

Subspecies Atlantic Hawksbill Seaturtle - Carapace very straight sided, tapers at end. Warm Atlantic waters as far as Massachusets.
Pacific Hawksbill Seaturtle - Heart shaped carapace. Tropical Pacific and Indian oceans.

Breeding Mates in shallow water off shore. 2' deep chamber dug into sand into which 50 to over 200 eggs laid. Hatch after 8-11 weeks.

Habitat Coastal waters with coral reefs, rocky bottoms and estuaries.

Range Warm Atlantic and pacific waters.

Discussion Bites if caught. Invertebrates form main diet. Eats toxic sponges which can make the flesh poisonous to humans.