In Hawaii, there are only three species of sea turtles said to be native to the islands:
- The Green Sea Turtle also known as Honu in Hawaiian
- The Hawksbill Seat Turtle or Honu'ea
- The Leatherback Turtle
The Green Sea Turtle
This is the one we often see in photographs of turtles in Hawaii... the beautiful Hawaiian green sea turtle (also known as black sea turtle). The name green comes from its olive green and black colors. It has two large front flippers and teardrop style shell. It is an endangered species fully protected in Hawaii. These turtles are simply beautiful and do not mind snorkelers. Just remember that it is against the law to disturb or touch turtles in Hawaii. Though there are normally 150 to 400 pounds when mature and 5 feet long, the largest one on record was 871 pounds!
Species: Chelonia mydas
It has a distinctive curved, long, and narrow beak. Its carapace is made of serrated overlapping scutes (bony plates). It enjoys shallow waters like those of Maui and eating sea corals. They can grow to be 200 pounds and 3 feet long.
Species: Eretmochelys Imbricata
It is the largest of all sea turtles and can grow to be 2,000 pounds and 8 feet in length! It has a bony shell instead of the standard sea turtle hard shell. It is indeed covered by a strong skin that looks like leather and, once you have seen one, you know what a Leatherback Sea Turtle is. Though they normally live in deep waters, you may see them when scuba diving in the deeper waters of Maui.
Species: Dermochelys coriacea