Skip to Content

Turtles In Belize

There are several turtles native to Belize and these include four sea turtles and nine freshwater turtles. Sea turtles occur in Belize mostly in and around the Belize Barrier reef which includes several cayes and three atolls.

Most of the Belize barrier reef is protected. Turtles you can find residing and/or nesting in the Belize Barrier Reef include hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and green sea turtle. As mentioned, there are nine freshwater turtles endemic to Belize.

Most of these turtles are either mud turtles or musk turtles. These are chelonians that are part of the family Kinosternidae.

These mud and musk turtles include narrow-bridged musk turtle (Claudius angustatus), northern giant musk turtle (Staurotypus triporcatus), scorpion mud turtle, or red-cheeked mud turtle (Kinosternon scorpioides), Tabasco mud turtle (Kinosternon acutum), and white-lipped mud turtle (Kinosternon leucostomum). The central American snapping turtle is the only snapping turtle endemic to Belize.

The mesoamerican slider is also the only slider endemic to Belize. Belize is also home to the furrowed wood turtle and the critically endangered hicatee. The hicatee is the species of the family Dermatemydidae.

Table of Contents

  1. Freshwater Turtles in Belize
    1. White-lipped Mud Turtle
    2. Tabasco Mud Turtle
    3. Meso-American Slider
    4. Red-Cheeked Mud Turtle
    5. Mexican Giant Musk Turtle
    6. Furrowed Wood Turtle
    7. Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle
    8. Central American Snapping Turtle
    9. Hicatee
  2. Sea Turtles in Belize
    1. Hawksbill Sea Turtle
    2. Green Sea Turtle
    3. Leatherback Sea Turtle
    4. Loggerhead Sea Turtle
  3. FAQ
  4. Conclusion

Freshwater Turtles in Belize

There are nine freshwater turtle species endemic to Belize. Some of these turtles are huge such as the northern giant musk turtle which can reach lengths of 16 inches, the Central American snapping turtle which can reach lengths of 18 inches, and the hicatee which can reach lengths of 25 inches.

1. White-lipped Mud Turtle

White-lipped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon leucostomum) in the moist dirt taken by Camilo Hdo
White-lipped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon leucostomum) in the moist dirt taken by Camilo Hdo
  • Family: Kinosternidae
  • Scientific Name: Kinosternon leucostomum 
  • Local Names: casco de burro/mula, casquito
  • Adult Length: 6 to 7 inches 
  • Conservation Status: Not evaluated

The white-lipped mud turtle is a dark-shelled turtle with a yellow plastron. The white-lipped mud turtle is a mud turtle and as such spend most of its time buried under mud.

This habit allows it to ambush prey, hide from predators, and regulate its body temperature. The carapace of the white-lipped mud turtle is flat and overall the white-lipped mud turtle is small in size as most mud turtles are.

Although an aquatic turtle, the white-lipped mud turtle can be found out of water especially when the temporary ponds they inhabit dries up. The species can be found in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize, and Mexico.

There are two subspecies of the white-lipped mud turtle and these include the northern white-lipped mud turtle (K. l. leucostomum) and the southern white-lipped mud turtle (K. l. postinguinale).

2. Tabasco Mud Turtle

Tabasco Mud Turtle (Kinosternon acutum) being held above muddy water in Orange Walk, Belize
Tabasco Mud Turtle (Kinosternon acutum) being held above muddy water in Orange Walk, Belize. – Source
  • Family: Kinosternidae
  • Scientific Name: Kinosternon acutum
  • Local Names: casco de burro, casco de mula, casquito
  • Adult Length: 4 to 5 inches 
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened

The tabasco mud turtle looks similar to the white-lipped mud turtle. So similar that it is easy to confuse the two.

After all, both are mud turtles. Both turtles have dark carapace which is flat. Also, both can be found in similar habitats.

Regardless of this, they are not the same species. You can differentiate the two by examining the carapace.

Tabasco mud turtle has a ridge that goes down the middle of the carapace, the white-lipped mud turtle does not. Additionally, the tabasco mud turtle has barbels on the chin, the white-lipped mud turtle does not.

The species is native to Belize, Veracruz & Tabasco in Mexico, and Guatemala. These species can be found in shallow slow-moving water bodies such as ponds, marshes, and small streams.

The species is predominantly carnivorous. During the day, the turtle remains buried in the mud of the water body it inhabits.

The tabasco mud turtle feeds during the night. The species is nocturnal. The species holds an IUCN Red List status of |Near Threatened.

3. Meso-American Slider

Meso-American Slider (Trachemys venusta venusta) basking on a rock at Orange Walk, Belize
Meso-American Slider (Trachemys venusta venusta) basking on a rock at Orange Walk, Belize. – Source
  • Family: Emydidae
  • Scientific Name: Trachemys venusta venusta 
  • Local Names: jicotea, jincotea
  • Adult Length: 12 to 16 inches 
  • Conservation Status: Not evaluated

This species looks very much like a pond slider (Trachemys scripta). Previously biologists considered the mesoamerican slider to be a subspecies of the pond slider.

Others also consider the mesoamerican slider a separate species. In fact, there are six subspecies of the mesoamerican slider. These are T. v. venusta (which is found in Belize), T. v. cataspila, T. v. grayi, T. v. panamensis, T. v.uhrigi, and T. v. iversoni.

The carapace of the mesoamerican slider is tan with circular yellow or orange markings. The border of the carapace is yellow.

The plastron of the mesoamerican slider is yellow with black patterns. The limbs and head are black with yellow stripes.

The mesoamerican slider is an aquatic turtle and can be found in water bodies such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. The slider prefers slow-moving water.

The species can be found in southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and northwestern Colombia. 

4. Red-Cheeked Mud Turtle

Red-cheeked Mud Turtle (Kinosternon scorpioides) in grass at Belmopan, Belize
Red-cheeked Mud Turtle (Kinosternon scorpioides) in grass at Belmopan, Belize. – Source
  • Family: Kinosternidae
  • Scientific Name: Kinosternon scorpioides 
  • Local Names: scorpion turtle, casco de burro, casquito
  • Adult Length: 4 to 10 inches (9.2 to 27 cm)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

This turtle is also known as the scorpion turtle or the scorpion mud turtle. The shell of this turtle is brown and has three ridges along the back.

The plastron is light in coloration. The head is darker than the rest of its body.

The color of the head is a deep brown with reddish-orange specklings. Lastly, the tip of the tail is spiny.

The species is a medium to large mud turtle. Females are generally larger than males.

These turtles are as highly aquatic as most mud and musk turtles are. These turtles can be found in all types of water bodies including brackish water.

As with most mud and musk turtles, the red-checked mud turtle is cannibalistic and will attack other members of its species. The species is predominantly carnivorous and feeds on a wide variety of animals including invertebrates such as insects and vertebrates such as fish.

The red-cheeked mud turtle also feeds on carrion.

5. Mexican Giant Musk Turtle

Mexican Giant Mask Turtle (Staurotypus triporcatus) climbing up some rocks in Cayo, Belize
Mexican Giant Mask Turtle (Staurotypus triporcatus) climbing up some rocks in Cayo, Belize. – Source
  • Family: Kinosternidae
  • Scientific Name: Staurotypus triporcatus
  • Local Names: guao, morokoi
  • Adult Length: 12 to 16 inches
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Giant musk turtles are generally small turtles. This doesn’t apply to the northern giant musk turtle which is huge.

This musk turtle can reach a length of 16 inches. This is unusual for a musk turtle.

The carapace of this large turtle is greenish-brown and has three ridges along the back. The plastron is light in coloration and tiny.

The carapace and the plastron have a narrow attachment. Because of this, the species is sometimes referred to as the narrow-bridged musk turtle.

This is not to be confused with Claudius angustatus which is commonly called the narrow-bridged musk turtle as well. The head is darker than the rest of its body.

However, there are several tiny white spots on the face. Additionally, the tabasco mud turtle has two barbels on the chin.

As with musk turtles, the species is predominantly carnivorous and feed on fish, carrion, and all types of invertebrates. Unlike most turtles, the sex of hatchlings is not determined by temperature.

Rather the species exhibits XX/XY sex determination.

6. Furrowed Wood Turtle

Furrowed Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys areolata) walking on red straw in Cayo, Belize
Furrowed Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys areolata) walking on red straw in Cayo, Belize. – Source
  • Scientific Name: Rhinoclemmys areolata
  • Local Names: mojina
  • Adult Length: 6 to 7 inches 
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened

This terrestrial turtle is high-dome like a turtle. Along the center of the carapace is a ridge.

The carapace has deep edges and looks like it has been sculpted out of wood. This appearance gives the turtle its common name.

The head of the furrowed wood turtle is tiny. Overall, the head is tan and has red and yellow spots.

The jaw of the wood turtle is yellow in coloration. The limbs are yellow with dark markings.

As with most wood turtles, the furrowed wood turtle spends most of its day in burrows so as to keep cool. The main threat to the species includes habitat degradation caused by farming.

The collection of the turtles by tourists in Tikal National Park is located in Northern Guatemala has also contributed to the decline of the species in that area.

The species is also collected for human consumption. Other potential threats to the species include road mortality and dey season fires. 

7. Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle

Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle (Claudius angustatus) in a tank with water taken by Goodshort
Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle (Claudius angustatus) in a tank with water taken by Goodshort, CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • Family: Kinosternidae
  • Scientific Name: Claudius angustatus
  • Local Names: Chamorro
  • Other Common Name: stinkpot
  • Adult Length:  5 to 7 inches 
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened

The musk turtle is also referred to as a stinkpot because of the odious scent it gives off. The foul scent wards away predators.

The turtle releases this musk when it is stressed or scared. The turtle has a narrow crosslike bridge that connects the carapace to the plastron.

This is why it is called the narrow-bridged musk turtle. The narrow-bridged musk turtle has a brown carapace with yellow marking on the edges.

In the wild, the hicatee will appear greenish as algae cover most of the shell. The turtle has a bulbous large head, a sharp beak, and a long neck. C. angustatus is an aquatic turtle that spends most of its life in water.

The turtle can be found in slow-moving water bodies such as ponds, and creeks. The habitat has to be rich in vegetation.

The narrow-bridged musk turtle can be found along the bottom of its habitat hunting for insects, and other small animals. The species has glands at the rear end of the shell which it uses to release a foul-smelling musk when stressed or scared.

Claudius angustatus is the only living species of the genus Claudius. The species is considered to be Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.

8. Central American Snapping Turtle

Central American Snapping Turtle (Chelydra rossignonii) roaming in the pebbled dirt in Gracias a Dios, Honduras
A Central American Snapping Turtle (Chelydra rossignonii) roaming in the pebbled dirt in Gracias a Dios, Honduras. – Source
  • Family: Chelydridae
  • Scientific Name: Chelydra rossignonii
  • Local Names: tortuga lagarto, tortuga cocodrilo
  • Adult Length: 14 to 18 inches 
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Snapping turtles are large turtles and the Central American snapping turtle is no different. Snapping turtles are so-called because of their powerful snapping bites.

Their bites can cause lacerations and injuries. These turtles are also aggressive when out of water.

This chelonian has a large head. The tail is very long, almost as long as the shell.

The carapace of the turtle is tan and has three ridges along the back. The plastron is light in correlation.

Additionally, the central American snapping turtle has four barbels on the chin. C. rossignonii is endemic to Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

The species is commonly found in slow-moving water bodies such as swamps, rivers, and wetlands. This turtle prefers murky waters.

The species is omnivorous and feeds on shrimp, fish, frogs, crabs, and vegetation. The main threats to the wild population include habitat degradation due to commercial and residential developments and harvesting for human consumption.

In Mexico, Central American snapping turtles have been bred for the pet trade. The species is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

9. Hicatee

Hicatee (Dermatemys mawii) laying on a rock in Cayo, Belize
A Hicatee (Dermatemys mawii) laying on a rock in Cayo, Belize. – Source
  • Family: Dermatemydidae
  • Scientific Name: Dermatemys mawii
  • Other Name: Central American river turtle
  • Local Name: tortuga blanca, hicatee
  • Adult Length: 14 to 25 inches
  • Adult Mass: 25 pounds
  • Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

The hicatee is a turtle native to Mesoamerica. This turtle can be found in Belize and southern Mexico and Guatemalan-Honduran border.

This turtle is also known as the Central American river turtle. The local name of this turtle is tortuga blanca which means white turtle.

The hicatee is the largest freshwater turtle in Belize and is capable of reaching lengths of 25 inches and weights of over 25 pounds. As you can see this turtle is huge.

Some hicatee have been recorded with weights of 49 lb (22 kg). Males have larger tails and yellow heads. Females have smaller tails and grayish-brown heads.

The carapace of the turtle is grayish-green while the plastron is light in coloration. You may be wondering why this turtle is called tortuga blanca.

This is because when cooked, the meat turns white. Hicatee is the only extant species in the family Dermatemydidae.

The species is a generalist herbivore and as such feeds on grasses, bank vegetation, loathing plants, and aquatic plants. As a generalist herbivore, the hicatee is also opportunistic easter and will even eat fruits and flowers.

Aquatic plants aren’t the only vegetation that the turtle feeds on, the hicatee also graze on leaves of terrestrial trees it can reach. During the day, the turtle remains buried in the mud of the water body it inhabits.

The hicatee feeds during the night. Unlike most river turtles, the hicatee don’t bask and mains the same temperature as the water it lives in.

The hicatee is considered one of the most endangered species in the world. The main threat to the species is human consumption.

Many specimens are also exported from Belize and Guatemala to Mexico. Another major threat to the species is habitat degradation. Other threats include aquaculture and pollution.

In Belize, legislation has been put in place to control the harvesting of this turtle.

The species is also a protected species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The species is listed on CITES Appendix II and is considered critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Sea Turtles in Belize

There are four marine turtles endemic to Belize. Interestingly, these turtles are difficult to observe as their occurrences are rare. Some of the species, including the hawksbill and the loggerhead nest in the Belize barrier reef system. 

10. Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) siwmming at the rocky bottoms of Corozal, Belize
A Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) siwmming at the rocky bottoms of Corozal, Belize. – Source
  • Scientific Name: Eretmochelys imbricata
  • Local Names: oxbulls
  • Adult Length: 62.5 to 114 cm (25 to 45 inches)
  • Adult Mass: 80 kg (176 lbs)
  • Lifespan: 50 years
  • Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Hawksbills are referred to as oxbulls in Belize. The hawksbills in the Caribbeans are spongivores and feed mostly on sponges found in reefs.

Local fishermen have observed hawksbills feeding on thimbles (which is jellyfish) when they are in season. The fishers have also noticed sponge remains within the digestive tract of the hawksbill.

The Glover’s Reef is known to be home to several hawksbills although overfishing means that the numbers are now massively reduced. In Belize, hawksbills have been observed mating from March to May along the outer reef and offshore outer southern cays.

The nesting season is believed to be from May to October/November, with peak nesting activity occurring in August and early September at Manatee Bar. The hawksbills that nest in Belize are solitary nesters meaning they do not nest in large concentrations.

About 40 hawksbill nest in Belize yearly.  Hawksbill is a critically endangered species. This is also one of the sea turtle species which nest extensively in Belize.

The main threat to the wild population of these turtles in Belize is the collection of eggs. Many of the eggs are collected by local fishermen.

While the turtle eggs are protected by law in Belize during the nesting season, this doesn’t stop fishermen from collecting the eggs.  In places such as the Manatee Bar which is a location where hawksbills nest, egg predation is a huge concern.

Animals such as polecats and foxes can eat up to five eggs a night. Raccoons on the other hand can destroy an entire clutch of eggs in a single night.

Other threats include tortoiseshell trade, harvesting of juveniles and adults for meat, the incidental capture of turtles in fishing gear, habitat degradation, nesting beach development, waste disposal, and the degradation of foraging grounds through practices such as dredging & anchoring, and pollution. Small juveniles are mostly speared by divers.

Tortposehell is used in the manufacture of Japanese bekko. Tortoiseshell jewelry is believed to be available to tourists and residents.

Hawksbill turtle is a critically endangered species on the IUCN Red List. The hunting of turtles and collection of eggs, juveniles, and nesting females is prohibited by Fisheries Regulations.

11. Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) at the sandy, grassy bottom of Corozal, Belize
A Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) at the sandy, grassy bottom of Corozal, Belize. – Source
  • Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
  • Local Names: turtle, “tur’kle”
  • Adult Length: 39 to 47 in (100 to 120 cm)
  • Adult Mass:Lifespan: 75 years
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

Green turtles nest in ambergris cay, long cay of the Glover’s Reef, Half Moon Caye, Northern Two Caye, and the southern cays. Nestings are rare with less than 19 green sea turtles nesting in Belize every year. 

The green turtle is an endangered species as many of the sea turtles of the world are. These turtles are susceptible to population declines as they are vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts.

Human threats have huge negative effects on the wild population numbers. In Belize, green turtle numbers are very limited, and very few green turtles actually nest on the shores of Belize.

However, human threats that the green turtle faces include egg harvesting/collection, harvesting of adult green turtles when they come to shore to nest, bycatch in marine fisheries, habitat destruction, and degradation – which include degradation of deeding areas and nesting beaches.

These turtles are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List and are included in Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

12. Leatherback Sea Turtle

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) on a dark sand beach in Limon, Costa Rica
A Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) on a dark sand beach in Limon, Costa Rica. – Source
  • Scientific Name: Dermochelys coriacea
  • Local Names: three-keel turtle, trunk turtle
  • Adult Length: 57 to 63 inches (145 to 160 cm)
  • Adult Mass: 551 to 1982 lb (250 to 900 kg)
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

In Belize, locals call the leatherback sea turtle the three-keel turtle or the trunk turtle. These turtles are the largest living reptiles on the planet.

Females that come to shore in the Caribbeans on average weighs 650 to 1100 lb or 300 to 500 kg.  The largest leatherback on record weighed 2015 lb which is 916 kg.

While leatherbacks have been encountered in Belize, these encountered are rare. It is also unknown if leatherback turtles nest on the shores of Belize.

It is believed that the extensive barrier reef formation in Belize prevents leatherbacks from nesting here. The reason for this is that the lack of a hard shell means that leathers are easily abraded and injured. 

13. Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) at the grassy bottom of Stann Creek, Belize
A Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) at the grassy bottom of Stann Creek, Belize. – Source
  • Scientific Name: Caretta caretta
  • Local Names: logga, cahuama
  • Adult Length: 28 to 37 inches (70 to 95 cm)
  • Adult Mass: 297 lb or 135 kg
  • Lifespan: 30 to 62 years
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Loggerhead turtles are locally referred to as cahuama or logga in Belize. The loggerhead turtles in Belize seem to feed almost exclusively on soldier crabs and spiny lobsters.

In Belize, loggerheads come to shore to mate from March to May along Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef, and along the outer reef. They also nest on Ambergris Caye nocturnally around this time.

Loggerheads have also been seen nesting on Placencia Peninsula although this is a rare occurrence. The most important nesting site for loggerheads in Belize is Ambergris Caye.

The loggerheads that nest in Belize lay about 120 eggs per clutch. They lay about 1 to 6 clutches per nesting season. The turtles do not nest yearly. Rather they best every two to three years.

You may also come across loggerheads just beyond the Belize Barrier Reef from March to May. The loggerheads are considered to be a threatened species.

The loggerhead is known to nest in Belize. They are known to nest on  Manatee Bar along with hawksbill.

The main threat to the loggerhead population in Belize is the collection of eggs and the harvesting of nesting females and juveniles. Other threats include predation of the egg by animals such as raccoons, foxes, and polecats, habitat degradation, waste disposal, incidental capture in fishing gear such as trawls, nesting beach development, and pollution.

Incidental capture of turtles in fishing gear is a huge problem with hundreds of sea turtles being captured this way. Incidental capture refers to the capture of turtles in fishing gear meant for other marine creatures such as shrimps.

Fishing gears that incidentally capture turtles include longlines, gill nets, and shrimp trawls. The Loggerhead turtle is considered Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

The hunting of turtles and collection of eggs, juveniles, and nesting females is prohibited by Fisheries Regulations in Belize.

FAQ

Where can I find sea turtles in Belize?

While several turtle species nest in Belize, the numbers are limited. Regardless of this, you can find turtles nesting in several places on the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.

Some common places where you can find sea turtles include the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Ambergris Caye,  Half Moon Caye, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Lighthouse Reef Atoll (which includes Northern Two Caye), Turneffe Atoll, Placencia Peninsula, Laughing Bird Caye, and Amazing Sea Life.

The Glover’s Reef is one of the three atolls located in Belize with the other two beingTurneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Reef Atoll. These three atolls are host to sea turtles.

These three atolls are protected areas since 1993. The Laughing Bird Caye is an island off the coast of Placencia.

Ambergris Caye is the largest Belizean island and is located northeast of Belize. Half Moon Caye, not to be confused with Little San Salvador Island which is sometimes called Half Moon Cay, is located southeast of Lighthouse Reef.

When can I observe marine turtles in Belize?

Because the number of sea turtles sighted in Belize is tiny, you are unlikely to spot a sea turtle on your travels to Belize. The nesting season for hawksbills is March to May.

Green turtles are reported to arrive in concentration in November and depart in March. Loggerheads also mate in Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef, and along the outer reef from March to May.

They also nest on  Ambergris Caye nocturnally around this time.

How many sea turtle species occur in Belizean waters?

In total, there are four sea turtle species to be found in Belize. These include loggerheads (Caretta caretta), green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Evidence shows that some of the loggerheads found in Belize migrated from Florida and the Bahamas. Similarly, many of the green turtles that occur in Belize are adults from Costa Rica and Mexico and juveniles tagged from Florida. 

How many freshwater turtle species occur in Belizean waters?

In total, there are nine freshwater turtle species to be found in Belize.

These include the critically endangered hicatee(Dermatemys mawii), the Central American snapping turtle (Chelydra rossignonii), narrow-bridged musk turtle (Claudius angustatus), furrowed wood turtle (Rhinoclemmys areolata), northern giant musk turtle (Staurotypus triporcatus), scorpion mud turtle or red-cheeked mud turtle (Kinosternon scorpioides), mesoamerican slider (Trachemys venusta venusta), Tabasco mud turtle (Kinosternon acutum), and white-lipped mud turtle (Kinosternon leucostomum).

Are turtles in Belize dangerous?

The danger level with each turtle differs. While most turtles found in Belize cannot be considered dangerous, the exception to this is the central American snapping turtle.

Snapping turtles are aggressive, especially out of the water, and can cause serious injuries such as lacerations. Musk and mud turtles are also capable of biting humans when handled.

These bites rarely cause lacerations but can be painful all the same. Turtles also carry the salmonella bacteria. This bacteria is responsible for salmonella infection.

This infection leads to mild symptoms among most people but can lead to complications and even death among the elderly, young children, and people with compromised or weakened immune systems. It is therefore essential to wash your hands after handling a turtle.

What can you do to help protect the hicatee?

The hicatee is a critically endangered freshwater turtle. This turtle happens to be endangered because of overexploitation for food as well as habitat degradation.

The turtle is an integral ingredient in the preparation of a traditional Belizean dish served around festivities such as La Ruta Maya, Christmas, and Easter. You can help protect the hicatee by not buying turtle meat or products made from turtle shells.

By moving turtles off roads as road mortality is a major threat to wild populations, and by not disturbing the nesting sites and nests of turtles.

Conclusion

As many as 13 turtles call Belize and its reefs home. These include nine freshwater turtles and four marine turtles.

The marine turtles are migratory species and cannot be found in Belize all year round. However, when they are in Belize, they can be found in the Belize Barrier Reef which is composed of cayes and atolls.

The four marine turtles endemic to Belize are the hawksbill, the loggerhead, the leatherback, and the green sea turtle. There are nine freshwater/pond turtles endemic to Belize.

These include the narrow-bridged musk turtle, the northern giant musk turtle, the scorpion mud turtle or red-cheeked mud turtle, the Tabasco mud turtle, the white-lipped mud turtle, the Central American snapping turtle, the mesoamerican slider, the furrowed wood turtle, and the hicatee. Many of the freshwater turtles endemic to Belize are part of the family Kinosternidae which is composed of mud and musk turtles.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Sharing is caring!