Hawksbill Sea Turtle Facts
- Most notably, the graceful and gorgeous Hawksbill Sea Turtle has been listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN since 1996.
- Furthermore, experts estimate that the population of this remarkable species has declined by about 80% in the last 100-135 years.
- Its numbers first began declining precipitously due to human encroachment into its nesting areas, for coastal development.
- Now, however, it also faces threats to its continued existence from the dire effects of both climate change and pollution, as well.
- Although now a protected species, with the intentional capture or killing of it outlawed, it still faces the environmental-based threats.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle Physical Description
Firstly, the amazing Hawksbill Sea Turtle displays only an extremely slight degree of sexual dimorphism, much like many related species.
An average adult specimen of this reptile individual attains a carapace length of about 3 ft (1 m), and also a weight of around 180 lb (80 kg).
Further, in general, the shell of this creature displays an amber background, with irregular patterns of light and dark streaks.
In addition, among males, the colors of the respective patterns typically display more intensely, for reasons as yet undetermined.
Finally, this remarkable turtle actually displays bioflourescent properties, making it the only known reptile with this characteristic.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Class: Chordata
- Phylum: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Cheloniidae
- Genus: Eretmochelys
- Species: E. imbricata
Hawksbill Sea Turtle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the Critically Endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle has an extremely wide distribution, existing in most temperate and tropical seas and oceans.
Also, this fascinating species typically inhabits regions of shallow coral reef, most commonly in tropical regions.
However, individuals sometimes choose to inhabit caves or ledges, though even these are usually in the vicinity of coral reefs.
In addition, despite technically being omnivorous, sea sponges comprise between 70 – 95% of the diet of the typical individual.
The rest of its diet commonly includes algae, sea anemones, jellyfish, and cnidarians, many of whom also remain quite poisonous to most creatures.
Finally, due to the fact that many of the creatures it consumes carries toxins, its own flesh quite often takes on a certain level of toxicity.