Hawksbill turtle

Hawksbill turtle information

Considered by many as the most beautiful of the sea turtles with their colorful shells. the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata according to its scientific name) is found in tropical waters around the world.

They spend their time on coral reefs, rocky areas, lagoons, oceanic islands, and shallow coastal areas.

Named for its narrow head and sharp bird’s beak, hawksbill turtles can reach the crevices and crevices of coral reefs in search of food.

Their diet is very specialized, feeding almost exclusively on sponges.

One of the smallest turtles, adults weigh between 100-200 pounds (45-90 kg) and reach 2-3 feet (plus or minus 0.5 to 1 meter) in length.

The specie lives in tropical regions and some sub-tropical regions in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The largest populations are found in the Caribbean Sea, Indonesia, Mexico and Australia.

Hawksbill turtles are not found in the Mediterranean and some are found in the waters of the United States, and only a handful nest in Florida each year.

 

Threats

Its population has decreased more than 80% in the last century, mainly due to the trade in its beautiful shell (shell).

Its shell, of bright colors with intricate designs, is marketed internationally for ornamental purposes.

The shell is used for items such as jewelry, combs and brushes, and inlays on furniture and other decorative pieces.

Hawksbill turtles were hunted almost to extinction before the hawksbill trade ban. Japan imported an estimated 2 million turtles, between 1950 and 1992.

Despite the fact that the international trade in their shells is illegal, there is still a thriving black market.

Other threats include destruction of nesting and feeding habitat, pollution, blows from vessels, coastal development, entanglement in fishing nets, and destructive fishing practices, such as dynamite fishing.

Dynamite fishing uses explosives to stun or kill fish, usually on reefs, to facilitate harvesting.

The practice also causes great damage to coral reefs and harms other animals that may be nearby.

Although it is illegal, this destructive type of fishing is still widespread in Southeast Asia, the Aegean Sea, El Salvador, and Africa.

Due to its sponge diet, its meat is harmful to humans. Sponges contain toxic chemical compounds that accumulate in the animal’s tissues.

The consumption of their meat by humans can cause a serious illness.

Like many sea turtles, the hawksbill turtle is a critically endangered species mainly due to human impact.

Hawksbill eggs are eaten all over the world despite the turtle’s international protection status, and they are often killed for their impressive shells.

 

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