Species of the Week: Hawksbill Turtle

Carey-Hawksbill

Carey-Hawksbill

The exceptionally beautiful shell of this species has been crafted into jewelry, combs, brushes and other accessories for thousands of years. Hawksbills are named after their narrow, birdlike head and use their sharp beak to pick their prey (largely sponges, jellyfish & other invertebrates)
off the reef.
They are present in all tropical & subtropical oceans and known to nest in 60 different countries. Despite the fact that their flesh can be poisonous to humans (depending on their diet), they are still considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.

These are the smallest sea turtles of the Caribbean, weighing in around 60 kg with shells that can
reach 90 cm in length. Their lifespan is unknown, but estimated at around 50 years.
Hawksbills are considered Critically Endangered.

They are usually not as approachable as Greens and tend to flee the scene as soon as they spot humans. However, they do seem to respond positively to being ignored. If you see one, you can try to prolong the encounter by pretending not to notice and avoiding swimming in its direction.

To learn more about sea turtles and other wildlife of the Mexican Caribbean, check out my book.

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