Hawksbill Turtle

Eretmochelys imbricate

Species name: Hawksbill Turtle
Scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricate


Locally known as: Hemesah


Description: Hawksbill turtles are relatively small and weigh a maximum of 50kg. They are typically brown with splashes of orange, yellow or reddish brown while juvenile hawksbills are black or dark brown with light brown or yellow colouration on the edge of their shell and limbs. They get their name from their distinct, beak-like mouth.


IUCN status: Critically Endangered


Key threats: Coastal development, entanglement in abandoned fishing nets, marine debris, pollution and over-exploitation for meat, eggs and shells.


Where they're found today: They are primarily tropical reefs around the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. In Abu Dhabi, they are protected in our Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve.


Abu Dhabi’s efforts: EAD manages marine protected areas such as the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, which is an important Hawksbill foraging habitat. Sea turtles and their habitats are protected by UAE Federal Law No. 23 and 24 of 1999. The UAE is a signatory to the Indian Ocean South-East Asian, (IOSEA), Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding, that suggests a range of actions for the conservation of sea turtles and the protection of their habitats.


Fun facts:

  1. Temperature determines the sex of the offspring. Warmer temperatures produce mostly females, and cooler temperatures produce a majority of males.
  2. Sea turtles lay circa 110 eggs in a nest, and average between 2 to 8 nests a season.
  3. Hawksbill Turtles are the only sea turtles that lay their eggs in the UAE.