Hawksbill sea turtles are amongst the rarest, most endangered marine reptiles in the world. Named after their peculiar short-snouted beak, hawksbills are found in coastal tropical waters of the world’s oceans.
Beautiful But Strange
Because of their beak, these small turtles prey on like-sized bait fish, cuttlefish, squids and unsuspecting crustaceans; their beak’s size allows them to reach in and out of coral crevices, unreachable by other, larger turtles and sea creatures. Hawksbills also have a pair of claws at the end of their dominant flippers. As it turns out, those primitive grasping structures are quite handy for grasping onto the algae-laden shells of a female mate as well.
Dancing In The Dark… and Glowing
Reptiles and raves: a string of words not often—or ever—put together in a single sentence. However, there is a unique trait to hawksbills. Bioluminescence the production of light from living organisms. They’re a light show, all to themselves. Hawksbills produce burgundy red light. While both the mechanisms for and meanings of their light show aren’t fully understood, we do know this much: hawksbills are the only bioluminescent reptiles on the planet, which is good reason to protect these animals for years and generations to come.