Hawksbill Sea Turtle Koh Tao
Learn about the Hawksbill Sea Turtle Koh Tao
Hawksbill Sea Turtles are one of our favourite marine animals and the most common sea turtle we see when scuba diving and snorkeling in the sea around Koh Tao.
Where to find the Hawksbill Sea Turtle on Koh Tao
You can find the beautiful Hawksbill Sea Turtle at many of the dive sites around Koh Tao including: White Rock, Twins, Hin Pee Wee, Hin Wong, Shark Bay, Shark Island and Aow Leuk bay.
How to Identify a Hawksbill Sea Turtle
The Hawksbill Sea Turtle has a beak like mouth, which is more hook-shaped than other sea turtles.
The hooked beaked is where the name Hawksbill comes from and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle has two front limbs with visible claws on each flipper.
The outer shell of an adult Hawksbill Sea Turtle is extremely striking, consisting of approximately 12 overlapping scales coloured with streaks of red, orange brown and gold.
Scutes of a Hawksbill Sea Turtle
An easily distinguished characteristic of the Hawksbill Sea Turtle is a pattern of thick scutes that make up its shell.
Hawksbill Sea Turtles have 5 central scutes and 4 pairs of lateral scutes, which is similar to many sea turtles however, the posterior (back) scutes overlap in a way that gives the back of the shell a serrated edge, like the edge of a steak knife.
An adult Hawksbill Sea Turtle can typically grow to 1 metre in length and weighs around 80kg.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle Characteristics & Behaviour
- The Hawksbill Sea Turtle uses its sturdy shell to insert its body into tight spaces between rocks and reefs.
- Hawksbill Sea Turtles are highly resilient and resistant to its prey, eating lots of venomous and toxic Cnidarians, sea sponges and jelly fish that are deadly to other organisms.
- A Hawksbill Sea Turtle is the first reptile to be recorded that has been shown to be biofluorescent.
- Hawksbill Sea Turtles spend most of their lives alone, only meeting to mate.
Interesting Facts about the Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Dating back to ancient Roman times, Hawksbill Sea Turtles have long been hunted for their shells that where fashioned into jewellery.
During a 148 year period, 1844-1992 records show nine million Hawksbill Sea Turtles were hunted.
Hawksbill Sea Turtles are an Endangered Species
The Hawksbill Sea Turtle is on the CITES list of endangered species and hunting them is prohibited.
An adult Hawksbill Sea Turtle has few predators due to its tough shell and known predators include sharks, crocodiles, Octopus and some pelagic fish.