Hawksbill Turtles

(Eretmochelys Imbrecata)

Descriptions

Adults weigh 100-150 pounds and babies weigh 0.5 ounces. Adults can grow to be 25-35 inches.


No one has found out exactly how long a Hawksbill turtle can live. The upper shell is brown with many splashes of yellow, orange or reddish-brown, and the lower shell is yellow with black spots. Young turtles are black or very dark brown with light brown or yellow on the edge of the shell. The upper shells of young turtles have raised ridges.


Diet includes algae, fish, mangrove, barnacles, clams, sponges, snails and sea urchins. Nesting occurs between April and November, depending on location. Nests average 161 eggs. Incubation takes from 50 to 70 days.

Found In


Topsail Island


Caswell Beach


The Outer Banks


Holden Beach



The hawksbill is found along submerged rocky areas, reefs, shallow coastal areas, lagoons of oceanic islands and narrow creeks and passes. It is not often seen in water over 65 feet deep. They are bottom-feeders, foraging close to shores and reefs.

Threats

  • habitat loss of coral reef communities
  • harvest of their eggs and meat
  • commercial exploitation (historically, but still permitted in some parts of the world)
  • increased recreational and commercial use of nesting beaches in the Pacific
  • incidental capture in fishing gear

Coral reefs are vulnerable to destruction and degradation caused by human activities. Hawksbill turtles rely on coral reefs for food resources and habitat. In particular, increased recreational and commercial use of nesting beaches, beach camping and fires, litter and other refuse, general harassment of turtles, and loss of nesting habitat from human activities negatively impact hawksbills.

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Helping Efforts

In the U.S., NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have joint jurisdiction for leather back turtles, with NOAA having the lead in the marine environment and having the lead on the nesting beaches.Since 1989, the U.S. has prohibited the importation of shrimp harvested in a manner that adversely affects sea turtles. The import ban does not apply to nations that have adopted sea turtle protection programs comparable to that of the U.S. or to nations where incidental capture in shrimp fisheries does not present a threat to sea turtles.