The entire hawksbill turtle nesting process takes roughly 1-3 hours in which the turtles dig pits, lay their eggs, then cover the nests and return to the sea.
Only about 1 in 1,000 hawksbill turtles will survive to adulthood because they must scramble to the ocean, directly after hatching, while avoiding predators.
Hawksbill turtles are believed to be guided inland to their nesting beaches by magnetic fields and the lunar phases and positioning of the moon.
Hawksbill turtles are primarily spongivorous in the Caribbean, omnivorous in the Indo-Pacific and Great Barrier Reef, and more herbivorous in Australia.
Hawksbill turtles are preyed on by humans, sharks, crocodiles, large fish, and octopi, and their nests are robbed by dogs, raccoons, rats, and humans.
Humans have become the hawksbill turtle’s major predator by eating the turtle and its eggs, as well as illegally hunting them to sell their scutes.
Temperature may determine the sex of hawksbill turtles, as cooler environments hatch more males and warmer nests hatch more females.
Tortoiseshell, the carapace scutes and plastron of the hawksbill turtle, has been prized and traded since ancient times.
Researchers tag nesting female hawksbill turtles in order to document population estimates, nest slaughters, and total number of egg clutches.
Hawksbill turtles have seen an increase in the Caribbean, but protection of the turtle in both terrestrial and marine habitats is still needed throughout much of the world.
Hawksbill turtles face multiple severe threats including the tortoiseshell trade, Japanese bekko industry, marine fishery mortalities, habitat degradation, and nesting disturbances.
Because they’re migratory and found internationally, hawksbill turtles lack demographic data and are instead evaluated using population trends and nesting activity.
The average female hawksbill turtle lays 3-5 egg clutches of 100-140 eggs during a single nesting season, but newly recruited females lay fewer clutches.
Hawksbill turtle populations continue to decline, especially in southeast Asia, and have decreased more than 80% overall throughout the last 3 generations.
The hawksbill turtle’s scientific name, “Eretmochelys imbricata” describes the imbricate, overlapping scutes on its carapace that set it apart from other sea turtles.
The hawksbill turtle is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List and is banned from international trade as an Appendix 1 species of CITES.
Female hawksbill turtles return to their natal rookeries to breed, even though they reside at habitats located hundreds or thousands of kilometers away.
Typically diurnal, except during mating season, solitary hawksbill turtles search for food during the daylight hours.
Hawksbill turtles have a flattened body shape, flipper-like limbs, and a protective carapace that can change colors based on water temperature.
Hawksbill turtles can be distinguished from other sea turtles by their extra prefrontal scales, extra forelimb claws, overlapping scutes, and elongated, sharp beaks.
Hawksbill turtles are long-lived and mature slowly, taking 20-40 years to fully develop and averaging a 20-50 year lifespan.
In general, hawksbill turtles are found in water no deeper than 18.3 m., or 60 ft., but larger turtles may inhabit deeper sites.
Hawksbill turtles are omnivorous and feed primarily on sponges, preferring certain species of sponges found in shallow shoals abundant with brown algae.
The hawksbill turtle gets its name from the elongated, tapered, sharp point at the end of its beak that gives the appearance of a bird’s beak.
Hawksbill turtles are relatively small sea turtles averaging 65-89 cm. long and 40-75 kg., however nesting females tend to be larger and heavier.
Virginia opossum are hunted because their meat, fat, and bones are believed to help with inflammation, colitis, gastritis, skin infections, heart attacks, epilepsy, allergies, dermatitis, and coughing.
Virginia opossums invest little in parental care; males provide no parental care, while females offer moderate care being protective of their pouches, but not of their young, specifically.
Virginia opossums have short lifespans with females living longer than males and captive ones living longer than wild individuals at 3-4 years compared to 1.5-2 years, but records top 10 years.
Although it is usually illegal, Virginia opossums are kept as pets, in which they adopt a more diurnal lifestyle, can be litter-trained, and often develop obesity.
Virginia opossum are born tiny and under-developed with muscular front legs to allow them to climb to their mother’s pouch, however; only about 1 in 3 will survive the trip.
Virginia opossums are solitary and will show aggression towards each other by “dancing” and lashing their tails while secreting from their dual anal glands.
After leaving their mother’s pouch, young Virginia opossums stay in the den or ride on her back until weaned around 100 days old, at which time they become independent.
Although Virginia opossums are important seed dispersers and can carry a variety of internal and external parasites, it is unusual for this species to be a carrier of rabies.