Tag: Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata)

The Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata) is perhaps the most frequently encountered species of Sea Turtle found in local waters, although no species of Sea Turtle would be considered "common" in the area.

Growing to a maximum shell (carapace) length of around 1m, Hawksbill Turtles are reasonably easy to identify, mainly due to their relatively narrow head with prominent curved beak from which their common name is derived.

The carapace has five central scutes edged by four lateral scutes which overlap to give a distinctive serrated appearance.

Although the general carapace colouration is an overall yellow/amber base with numerous dark brown/black radiating streaks, this is often partially concealed by a layer of algae which can give a red/green appearance.

Another distinctive feature of the Hawksbill Turtle is the presence of two claws on the fore flippers, a trait shared only by the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta). This distinguishes these two species from the remaining five Sea Turtle species which may lack claws completely on the fore flippers, or have one only.

Although spending their formative years predominantly in the open oceans, more mature individuals tend to spend much of their time around shallow coral reefs where they find an abundance of the sponges, algae, Sea Anemones and Gelatinous Zooplankton which makes up the majority of their diet.

Always regarded as a memorable encounter due to their rarity, the Hawksbill Turtle (and its locally occurring relatives) are most likely to be found at sheltered reef locations such as those found at Mae Haad/Koh Ma, Koh Phangan, throughout the Angthong Marine Park and at a number of locations around the aptly named Koh Tao, meaning "Turtle Island" in Thai.

The Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata) is perhaps the most frequently encountered species of Sea Turtle found in local waters, although no species of Sea Turtle would be considered "common" in the area.

Growing to a maximum shell (carapace) length of around 1m, Hawksbill Turtles are reasonably easy to identify, mainly due to their relatively narrow head with prominent curved beak from which their common name is derived.

The carapace has five central scutes edged by four lateral scutes which overlap to give a distinctive serrated appearance.

Although the general carapace colouration is an overall yellow/amber base with numerous dark brown/black radiating streaks, this is often partially concealed by a layer of algae which can give a red/green appearance.

Another distinctive feature of the Hawksbill Turtle is the presence of two claws on the fore flippers, a trait shared only by the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta). This distinguishes these two species from the remaining five Sea Turtle species which may lack claws completely on the fore flippers, or have one only.

Although spending their formative years predominantly in the open oceans, more mature individuals tend to spend much of their time around shallow coral reefs where they find an abundance of the sponges, algae, Sea Anemones and Gelatinous Zooplankton which makes up the majority of their diet.

Always regarded as a memorable encounter due to their rarity, the Hawksbill Turtle (and its locally occurring relatives) are most likely to be found at sheltered reef locations such as those found at Mae Haad/Koh Ma, Koh Phangan, throughout the Angthong Marine Park and at a number of locations around the aptly named Koh Tao, meaning "Turtle Island" in Thai.

Alan's picture
Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata)

This photograph of a small Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata), busy feeding on some soft corals at Laem Tien Bay, Koh Tao, clearly shows the two claws on the fore-flippers.

Alan's picture
Petter gets a close encounter with a very relaxed Hawksbill Turtle

Petter Bugge gets a fantastic close encounter with a feeding Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata) at Laem Tien, Koh Tao during his

Alan's picture
Christian Botterud with a Hawksbill Turtle at Laem Tien, Koh Tao

Christian Botterud observes a Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata) up close at Laem Tien, Koh Tao during his

Alan's picture
John Moate completes his PADI Open Water Diver course

Congratulations to John Moate from England on completing his PADI Open Water Diver course.