Q:

How many hawksbill turtles are left in the world?

A:

By most estimates, approximately 20,000 female hawksbill turtles are left in the world. They are considered endangered, according to National Geographic.

Sea turtle populations are based on estimations of how many nesting females there are, as scientists can make guesses based on beach reports. However, hawksbills like to lay eggs away from other turtles, so it is sometimes difficult to count how many females are nesting.

Females only lay eggs every couple of years. They always go back to the place they were hatched to lay their own eggs. In a nesting season, the females may return to the beach as many as five times to lay another nest of eggs, usually twice a month. As they lay over 100 eggs each time, they can have as many as 650 eggs in a season, and some prolific hawksbills can lay as many as 1,000 eggs.

To lay eggs, the females dig holes in the ground first. When they are done laying, they smooth sand over the top of the eggs. Hawksbill eggs hatch on their own after a period of 2 months, and the young find their way back to the ocean; the mother does not wait around to see the eggs hatch.

Hawksbills are almost 4 feet long, although that is relatively short for sea turtles. They are omnivores, and they generally feed on small fish and marine life as well as plants such as algae.


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