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Common Turtle Species in Phuket – What to Know

March 1, 2020
Outrigger Surin Beach Resort

While Phuket is known for the wild evening parties and breathtaking beaches, there is one thing people seem to forget about. Do you know what that is? Turtles! These creatures populate the island. While the dominant species you’ll find is the Hawksbill Turtles, there are many other species here too. Unfortunately, pollution has destroyed their environment, putting all of them in the endangered list. Fortunately, they’ve been protected, and their numbers have increased. This is excellent news for everyone, especially if you’re a turtle lover!

In this article, we’ll talk about the two common species of turtles you can find here:

Green Turtles
Back in the 60s, these turtles were a delicacy. Unfortunately for the humans that ate them, it was a dangerous one at that. The meat contained toxins that caused chelonitoxism. This caused plenty of food poisoning, and even death, among the people that ate the meat. What makes this even sadder is that some people would test the turtle meat on animals like cats and dogs. If the cats or dogs died, the meat is thrown away. Today, however, the culture of turtle-eating is long gone. However, the turtles still must deal with another predator, the tiger sharks.

While Green Turtles are a relatively rare sight, they’re much more common compared to the others. If you’re on the lookout for these cute creatures, head to Kata Beach. As you can tell by their names, these turtles are green, so you can keep an eye out for a green turtle-shaped object floating around or even on the beach.

When it comes to size, green turtles are one of the largest you’ll ever find. They can measure up to one and a half meters and way over 300 kilograms. Their diets, while changing depending on their age, mainly comprises of seagrass. In fact, they’re the only species here you can find in Phuket that are entirely herbivores. While you might think that grazing on the seabed isn’t particularly helpful for the ocean floor, it keeps the plants healthy.

Hawksbill Turtles
While green turtles were hunted for their meat a long time ago, hawksbill turtles were killed for their prized shells. Unfortunately, this practice is still ongoing. This means that if you run into merchandise that is made of turtle shells, it most likely is made of hawksbill shells, and you should avoid it.

That said, while they’re still being hunted, they’re the most common turtles you’ll find in Phuket. If you take a dive in a location appropriately named “Turtle Rock” at the Phi Phi Islands, you’ll find these guys swimming around.

As for their looks, if you thought they look like they’re dressed in algae, you’d be right. The scales on their shells act as a perfect home for algae, giving the turtle a slightly fuzzy look to them. As you might be able to tell from their names, their mouths look like bills, narrow and pointy, perfect for their primary food source, which are hidden among the corrals. Because they also feed on jellyfish, these guys are prone to eating plastic bags, something which is unfortunate.

To conclude, these turtles are a beautiful sight to behold if you’re lucky enough to spot them. If you want to catch these guys in their natural habitats, we hope that you’re ready to do some diving. With the help of the Thai authorities in preserving these beautiful creatures, we do expect that one day, these rare sightings can become more frequent and common.

Are you looking for a boutique beach resort to bunk in Phuket? Consider Outrigger Surin Beach Resort! We’re located right by Surin Beach, we offer a comfortable choice with services such as Thai cooking classes and relaxing massages. With all the amenities you’ll ever need right near you, we guarantee that you’ll be satisfied.