Hawksbill Sea Turtle:
One of the 6 species you can find in Mexico.
Size: The hawksbill is one of the smaller sea turtles. Adults are 2.5 to 3 feet in carapace length (71 – 89 cm).
Weight: Adults can weigh between 101 and 154 pounds (46 – 70 kg).
Diet: It is very specialized, feeding almost exclusively on sponges. Its narrow head and jaws shaped like a beak allow it to get food from crevices in coral reefs. They also eat anemones, squid and shrimp.
Habitat: Hawksbills are the most tropical of the sea turtles and are most commonly found in coral reefs, rocky areas, lagoons, and shallow coastal areas.
Nesting: Nest at intervals of 2 to 4 years. Nests between 3 to 6 times per season. Lays an average 160 eggs in each nest. They mostly nest on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula
-The principal threat is the harvesting for their prized shell, often referred to as “tortoise shell”. In some countries the shell is still used to make hair ornaments, jewelry, and other decorative items.
-Degradation of nesting habitat from coastal development and beach armoring.
-Habitat Loss due to destruction caused by human activities.
-Marine pollution and debris, watercraft strikes, and incidental take from commercial fishing operations all contribute to human-related hawksbill sea turtle deaths.
FACTS AND TIDBITS:
-Hawsbills are considered Critically Endangered around the world by the IUCN Red List and are listed as Endangered in the US. Some researchers believe this is the most endangered sea turtle population worldwide.
-Hawksbills are important inhabitants of coral reefs. By consuming sponges, they aid coral to grow.
-Because of their sponge diet, their flesh is harmful to humans. The consumption of their meat by humans may cause serious illness and in extreme cases even death.
-It is illegal to trade, purchase or possess sea turtle products.