#224 Hawksbill Turtle

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 16

If we were traveling with Phileas Fogg right now, we'd be about halfway between the port we left in Yemen, and the next stop in Mumbai, India.


These turtles have a range pretty much all around the world. They generally stay near the surface of the water. On average they weigh about 175 pounds, but can get to be almost 280 pounds at the extreme end. They are considered pretty small as far as sea turtles go. Seeing as how the Leatherback can reach at least 1500 pounds, even 280 pounds does start to sound rather petite. In theory they could live to be 50 years old, but biologists don't actually have any idea how long they live. Because they are migratory ocean dwelling creatures, it is hard to know just how many there really are. They are at risk due to a multitude of threats. The biggest threat is because of how beautiful their shells are. They are poached and the shells sold to tourists and made into jewelry. Please, if you ever buy anything tortoise shell or turtle shell, be absolutely certain it is fake. Other threats are habitat loss which can cause a big problem since females return to the same beach to nest time after time. The eggs are harvested by people, dogs, and other predators. They are accidentally and purposefully caught by fishermen. They eat sponges which help keep the coral reefs healthy, but because of that toxicity builds up in their meat which can make them toxic for humans. That does not seem to stop people from eating them unfortunately. Of course, as if that isn't enough, they also have to deal with pollution. It is really rather amazing that they are still hanging on.


I was really rather surprised today that we didn't have a squirrel come and clean out the bird feeder. We have what is like a tray, not what you would normally think of as a bird feeder. On the tray we put suet as well as peanuts in and out of the shell. The ones in the shell can be stored by birds and they can eat the ones out of the shell immediately. The blue jays will yell at me if I don't fill it up in the morning fast enough. I'm just doing a handful of each in the morning, but the suet block is hanging out and getting slowly smaller. The reason I'm surprised we haven't had squirrels is because we have a post for our grape to climb right next to where the bird feeder is hanging. It would be very easy for a squirrel to climb the post and then just reach out to get nuts. The squirrels apparently are more interested in planting walnut and oak trees in our yard and our neighbours' yards. They run along our fence, but now that the terrier is blind, they don't seem to enjoy taunting the dogs any more. It seems it was more of a game for them to hang out in our yard and trees, all meant to torture the dog and play a high stakes game (he caught two in 10 years, so I guess not terribly high stakes but still). I really wouldn't mind the squirrels having a snack of peanuts, I think they are adorable. So long as they don't keep the crows away, the crows that have never been in our backyard in the 17 years we've lived here. I'm still feeling optimistic that they will eventually though.

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