Learn about our Sea Turtles: ‘Aumākua, or spiritual guardians
Updated: Jun 20, 2020
In ancient Hawaiian Sea Turtles are mentioned in the 4th verse of the Hawaiian Creation Chant (Kumulipo), they are revered as spiritual guardians of Hawaii and its people.
The most common sea turtle on maui is the Green Hawaiian sea turtle. Called 'Honu' in Hawaiian and pictured here. Also pictured are several fish (Yellow Eyed Tang), cleaning the sea turtles by eating the algae off of their shell and fins creating a mutually beneficial relationship.
Full grown Green Hawaiian turtles grow up to 4 feet in length and can weigh 200-500 pounds! The majority of their diet consists of sea grass and algae, and any green vegetation they can reach. They also eat jellyfish or dead fish if they can find them.
Other turtles found in Hawaii are the Hawksbill ('Ea in Hawaiian), Loggerhead, Leatherback, and Kemp Rildley's sea turtle.
Most of these are quite rare to see. The Hawaiian Hawksbill and Leatherback are both endangered, and Loggerheads are much more common in Florida.
Hawksbills are distinguished by their beak like upper jaw, serrated shell, and different scale pattern on top of their heads.
Leatherbacks are Pelagic animals, which means they spend most of their live out at sea in the deep ocean. They are much larger then the Green turtles, and the Leatherback Turtles can grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh over 2,000 pounds! They are capable of diving down to 4,000 feet, the deepest of any known turtle species!