The Hawksbill Turtle

While hawksbill turtles seem to float through life without a care, they are actually highly endangered, despite protection from government agencies and conservation groups. Check out the hawksbill here, and learn why these ancient sea creatures are worth protecting more about what you can do to help in MacGillivray Freeman Films' IMAX documentary "Journey to the South Pacific."  Learn more at



The US National Marine Fisheries Service has classified hawksbill turtles as endandgered since 1970. The US government established several recovery plans for protecting them.


The hawksbill is one of the smaller sea turtles. Head is narrow and has 2 pairs of prefrontal scales (scales in front of its eyes).


Its carapace (shell) is bony without ridges and has large, over-lapping scutes (scales) present and has 4 lateral scutes.


Their flippers have 2 claws.


The hawksbill's narrow head and jaws shaped like a beak allow it to get food from crevices in coral reefs. They eat sponges, anemones, squid and shrimp.


Typically found around coastal reefs, rocky areas, estuaries and lagoons.


The greatest threat to hawksbill sea turtle 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.




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