Eretmochelys imbricata Photo Claire Sunquist ©
The hawksbill is one of the smaller sea turtles, and the rarest of the five sea turtle species in Florida. Its shield-shaped shell is dark greenish brown above and yellow underneath. The hawksbill’s narrow head and tapering hooked ‘beak’ gives the species its name.
It is usually found near coral reefs and in shallow coastal waters where it feeds on jellyfish, sponges and mollusks. Only a few hawksbill nests have been found in Florida, all from the extreme southern portion of the state. Between 1979 and 2003, only 39 hawksbill nests have been documented in the state. Small young (15 cm; 6 in) are sometimes seen around the coral reefs in the Florida Keys.
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