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Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Page history last edited by jill.glazer@stgeorges.qc.ca 9 years, 10 months ago

Hawksbill Sea Turtles

by:Jill Glazer


The hawksbill's appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. It has a generally flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper (arms), to become adjusted to new conditions for swimming in the open ocean. Hawkbill Sea Turtles (fully grown) usually weigh up to 40-60kg which is between 100 and 150 pounds. The hawksbill is a smaller sea turtle with a narrow head and 2 pairs of prefrontal scales in front of its eyes. Adult Hawksbill Sea Turtles have a length of 76-91cm, which is 2.5-3 feet. 



The Hawksbill Sea Turtle usually lives around coastal reefs, rocky areas and ponds. As a highly migratory species, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, from the open ocean to lagoons and even mangrove swamps in estuaries. Hawksbill turtles are located throughout the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They try to get away from deep waters, preferring coastlines where sponges are free and sandy nesting sites are within reach. 

Map: Hawksbill sea turtle range

Yellow: Hawksbill Sea Turtle Range


Predator Adaptations:

A Hawksbill Sea Turtle's diet is usually made up of mostly sponges that live in coral reefs. Their sharp, narrow beaks are used to feed on prey found in reef cracks.

Prey Adaptations:

While they are omnivorous, sea sponges are the principal food of hawksbill sea turtles. Sponges form 70–95% of their diets in the Caribbean. However, like many spongivores, they feed only on select species, avoiding many others. Aside from sponges, hawksbills feed on algaecnidarianscomb jellies and other jellyfish, and sea anemones.They also feed on the unsafe jellyfish-like hydrozoan, the Portuguese man of war. Hawksbill Sea Turtles close their powerless eyes when they feed on these cnidarians. 




Species comparison: Loggerhead Sea Turtle


-They are both named after their heads

-They both live at the bottom of the ocean

-They are both about the same size (length)

-They both have 2 pairs of prefrontal scutes



-Loggerhead Sea Turtles weigh about 100-200 pounds more than Hawksbill Sea Turtles

-Loggerhead Sea Turtles are about 1-2 feet larger (length wise) than Hawksbill Sea Turtles

-Loggerhead Sea Turtles have 1 more costal scute than the Hawksbill Sea Turtle



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