The hawksbill’s appearance is similar to other marine turtles. It has a generally flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. Hawksbill shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature. While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs.
In Sipadan Island, turtle easy to be spotted and the main attraction is the Sipadan Turtle Tomb. There are several side tunnels and a small passage way near dive site Barracuda Point. The turtles couldn’t find their way out and died from asphyxia (deficient supply of oxygen to the body). This turtle tomb cave dive requires specialist equipment and an experienced local scuba diver who knows the turtle tomb cave in and out.
Threatened by human fishing practices caused hawksbill sea turtle populations with extinction. The World Conservation Union classifies the Hawksbill as crtically endangered. Sadly the hawksbill shells are the primary source of tortoise shell material, used for decorative purposes.
Adult hawksbill sea turtles have been known to grow up to 1 metre (3 ft) in length, weighing around 80 kilograms on average. The turtle’s shell, or carapace, has an amber background patterned with an irregular combination of light and dark streaks, with predominantly black and mottled brown colours radiating to the sides.
The hawksbill sea turtle has its own characteristics that distinguish it from other sea turtle species. Its elongated, tapered head ends in a beak-like mouth, and its beak is more sharply pronounced and hooked than others turtle. The hawksbill’s arms have two visible claws on each flipper.
Adult hawksbill sea turtles are primarily found in tropical coral reefs. They are usually spotted resting in caves and ledges in and around these reefs throughout the day. As a highly migratory species, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, from the open ocean to lagoons and even mangrove swamps.
Aside from sponges, hawksbills feed on algae and cnidarians comb jellies and other jellyfish and sea anemones. The hawksbill also eat dangerous jellyfish-like hydrozoan, the Portuguese Man o’ War (Physalia physalis). Uniquely hawksbill close their unprotected eyes when they feed on these cnidarians.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle are highly resilient and resistant to their prey.