Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Eretmochelys imbricata


Hawksbill sea turtles are pelagic turtles found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico, and may be occasionally seen close to coastal Mississippi foraging or nesting. This species is noted as having overlapping scutes and a brown/black “tortoiseshell” pattern. Sea turtles are protected and should not be bothered, handled, or captured.

Identifying Traits

  • Tortoiseshell pattern and color
  • Two pairs of prefrontal scales on top of head
  • Scutes overlap on carapace


Oceanic, may be encountered eating jellyfish during blooms, occasionally nests on natural beaches and barrier islands


Pelagic, nests on beaches, forages on gelatinous prey and algae


Jellyfish, algae