Friday, June 7, 2019

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

On the south coast of Sri Lanka we visited the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Koggala. They had several hawksbill sea turtles, which are Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The hawksbill is associated with warm tropical waters, but has a wide range in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. There are two subpopulations, the Atlantic subpopulation and the Indo-Pacific subpopulation, which the ones we saw were.
Range map from Wikipedia. Red circles are known major nesting sites and yellow circles are minor nesting sites. Blue is the range. 
They can grow to three feet in length and average 180 pounds in weight. The heaviest one ever captured was 280 pounds. The shell, or carapace, has an amber background patterned with light and dark streaks, with black and mottled-brown colors radiating to the sides. Its has a beak-like mouth (which gives it its name) which is more beak-like and sharply pronounced than other sea turtles. The forelimbs have two visible claws on each flipper. 
We were told not to touch these turtles as their beaks can inflict a nasty bite that will take off a finger. 

1 comment:

  1. We'd survived the cobras, what would a little nip by a tortoise matter?