Hawksbill Turtle Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Hawksbill sea turtles are a kind of turtle that lives in warm ocean water. Come learn about hawksbill turtles, how they got their name, where you can find them, what they like to eat, and some other cool facts about these turtles.

What are Hawksbill Sea Turtles?

Imagine snorkeling in warm water near the shore. A turtle catches your attention and you watch it glide gracefully through the ocean water. It has a beautiful shell and a mouth that reminds you of a bird's beak. You are watching a hawksbill sea turtle!

Hawksbill sea turtles are small turtles with beak-like mouths that live in the warm, tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They are endangered, which means there are very few left in the wild and they are in danger of disappearing forever.

Hawksbill sea turtles got their unique name because their mouths look a lot like a hawk's pointy beak.

beak-like mouth
beak-like mouth

Hawksbill sea turtles have flippers that help them swim and steer. They also have two claws on each flipper, like you have fingernails on your fingers.

When they are young, hawksbill sea turtle shells are shaped like hearts. As they get older, their shells grow to be about 30-45 inches long and stretch out into an oval shape. Those shells are made up of hard plates that are golden brown with a lot of pattern. The back edge is also usually jagged, like a steak knife.

Hawksbill sea turtle
Hawksbill sea turtle

Hawksbill sea turtles can weigh up to 150 pounds, which is about the same as 18 gallons of water. Though that may seem heavy, they're small compared to other sea turtles.

Where do Hawksbill Sea Turtles Live?

Once baby hawksbill sea turtles make it from their eggs on the beach to the warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian Oceans, scientists think they swim out into the deep, open water where they spend a few years growing up.

After they are fully grown, these turtles swim back to more shallow areas near the coast. Their favorite place to live is in coral reefs.

Hawksbill sea turtle in a coral reef
Hawksbill sea turtle in a coral reef

If there are no coral reefs, they like to live near rocky spots, places where rivers flow into oceans, and in areas where tropical trees called mangroves grow in shallow, salty water.

However, hawksbill sea turtles don't like hanging out with each other in their ocean habitats and spend most of their lives alone.

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