The Central American river turtle (Dermatemys mawii) locally known as the "hickatee" or tortuga blanca (white turtle) is the only living species in the family Dermatemydidae. It is the largest freshwater turtle in its range. An average adult measures 24 inches long and weighs almost 50 pounds.
It is a nocturnal (active at night), aquatic turtle that is found only in the coastal lowlands of the western Caribbean. Its range extends from the Mexican state of Veracruz southeast through Guatemala and Belize.
It is one of the world's most heavily exploited turtles and is classified a critically endangered species by the IUCN and is listed as Endangered under the US Endangered Species Act. The Central American river turtle has been intensely harvested. The main threat to this turtle is hunting by humans. It is very easy to catch and both its meat, eggs and shells are valued by people in its range. Although large populations of the turtle remain in Belize, it is hunted in great numbers.
Please, sign the petition to protect the largest population of Central American river turtles in Belize.
Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!