Back to Categories

Hawksbill Turtle - Eretmochelys imbricata
Photo by Jerry Burcham

The hawksbill turtle is a relatively small sea turtle with overlapping plates on its shell and a hooked jaw. It grows up to 22 inches long and weighs up to 100 pounds. The turtle comes out of the water only to breed. It lays its eggs in a nest it digs in the sand, and returns to the ocean, allowing the eggs to develop and hatch.

Hawksbill Turtle
(Eretmochelys imbricata)

Worldwide in tropical waters, especially North America, Asia and Africa

Open ocean

Sponges, seagrasses, small fish or sea life


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
The skin and flesh of the hawksbill turtle is highly toxic and can cause a serious illness or death if eaten.

Learn More
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
- National Marine Fisheries Service
- US Fish and Wildlife Service