Hawksbill sea turtles are local inhabitants of the waters near Hatchet Caye. Like other species of sea turtle, they return to land to nest after mating at sea. Mating usually occurs every 2-3 years during the breeding season which can begin as early in the year as April and end as late as November. This is the only time Hawksbills leave the water.
Females have a built in homing beacon that makes them capable of returning to the same beach where they were born. They usually drag themselves onto the beach to nest during the night, although rare daytime nesting can occur. Once on the beach, they clear an area and dig nests in the sand with their hind flippers, where they eventually lay their eggs.
After all the eggs have been laid, the nests are then covered with sand to conceal them. The entire process can take from several minutes to several hours. Once the process is complete, however, the females leave the eggs unattended and return to the sea, possibly returning several days later to lay another set of eggs in more nests. After about 60 days, the eggs finally hatch and the young turtles try to find their way to sea.
Female Hawksbill turtles come to lay and hatch their eggs at Hatchet Caye every year. The island is an important nesting ground for them. Considering that their species is currently listed as Critically Endangered, Hatchet Caye is privileged to be such an important part of their life cycle and to have them living so close to our shores. These majestic creatures of the sea can be seen on our famous Turtle Spot snorkel tours which are included in some of our vacation packages.
Contact us for more information on how you can see Hawksbills and other amazing aquatic life during our Belize snorkeling tours.