A List Of Endangered Animals In The United States Hickatee: The Critically Endangered Turtle

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Hickatee: The Critically Endangered Turtle

Dermatemys mawii, Hickatee, Central American river turtle is a type of aquatic turtle that spends its entire life in or on water, even sleeping and yet they stay on water. The largest species of turtle is a maximum of 25 inches in carapace length and can weigh up to 44 pounds, 50 pounds if you include the weight of the carapace or turtle shell. Males can be distinguished from females by the yellow markings on both sides of their heads. They also have a longer and thicker tail.

The female is slightly smaller, with a short tail and a gray head that is not adorned by the golden markings and spot markings that match the male. The carapace, brown or olive drab, is only slightly curved; The ventral shell is leathery.

Hickatee females only leave the water when they have eggs to lay, where, as many as sixteen eggs are hidden beneath the camouflage of rotting vegetation. This mother doesn’t look back, she doesn’t check the teeth she just laid. The newly laid eggs turn themselves into blood.

The coastal plains of Belize are the Hickatee’s normal habitat along the waterways of southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. Deeper and clearer water is better, and many of Belize’s lakes are considered by Hickatee to be prime habitat areas.

When the new Hickatee hatch they will start life as carnivores, however, as they grow older they switch to a vegetarian diet. The ancient Maya sacrificed turtle meat for food and for religious ceremonies. Turtle meat is still a highly prized delicacy today. The eggs of Sea Turtles are harvested in Belize for food.

Hickatee is a herbivore and its meat is keenly eaten by male carnivores. Hickatee turtle meat is a traditional Easter meal in Belize which has helped put this turtle on the endangered list. Furthermore, the Hickatee is an easy prey as they lazily float on the water unaware that they will be hit without knowing anything about their favorite fat or simply taken from the river bed in the summer.

Despite their endangered status, Hickatee only have very limited protection in Belize with a one month closure period with no trading of Hickatee meat, a maximum of 3 are allowed to be taken per person and only five per vehicle.

The Hickatee turtle is one of the most powerful turtles in the world, which has been harvested a lot, mainly for its meat, but for its eggs, carapace and even the hatchlings are sold as food. This turtle has almost disappeared from most of its former range in southern Mexico.

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