Do Hawks Eat Turtles? Everything You Want to Know!

The food habits of hawks depend on their species and the availability of prey. Their diet list is really big. As they are known as opportunistic, they would prey on anything that is small than them. Have you ever wondered if turtles are also included in the list? Do hawks eat turtles?

Hawks always look for easy and small prey. As turtles are relatively big and have hard protector shells, they are not the hawks’ preferred prey. Instance hawks choose small mammals or birds. Though sometimes it has been seen hawks killing and eating turtles, it isn’t a regular sight.

In the rest of the article, I’ve explained why turtles are not hawks’ preferred meals if hawks eat baby turtles or eggs and some related info about this topic. If you are interested in the hawks’ diet list, then keep on reading to learn some surprising info about hawks.

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Do Hawks Eat Turtles?

Do Hawks Eat Turtles
Image Credit: RCKeller, Canva

We all know that hawks are predators, and they will prey on everything that is easy to catch. Are turtles also included in the list? Let’s know.

Hawks usually choose preys that are easy to catch. Turtles and hawks are very similar in size. So it’s tough for hawks to prey on such big mammals. 

Besides, turtles have strong shells. They can bend and put their whole body, including their legs, inside the shell. At this time, a turtle looks like a solid football. In such a situation, hunting a turtle is almost impossible.

Moreover, a hawk usually detects its prey from a high altitude and keeps an eye on its movements. As soon as the hawk gets an opportunity, it attacks the prey with full force and kills it. In this case, turtles are slow, and they usually prefer to stay hidden. That’s why they are often off the hawk’s food list.

When there is other easy prey like mice, small birds, fish, or reptiles, hawks won’t surely go for turtles. Actually, turtles are not the preferred prey of hawks.

But there are some cases when hawks have been seen to prey on and eat turtles. This is a really rare sight. Depending on the species of hawks and the ecosystem, food preferences change. That’s why sometimes such unusual sights are seen.

Do Hawks Eat Baby Turtles?

Do Hawks Eat Baby Turtles
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As adult turtles are tough prey for hawks, it’s natural to assume baby turtles as hawks’ favorite prey. But the truth is even baby turtles are not on the hawk’s list of favorites. Instead, these hawks would prefer other small and easy prey.

Be it an adult or a baby turtle, both have a strong shell for protection. Because of this shell, hawks can’t catch turtles with their sharp paw. As I said before, turtles usually prefer to stay hidden. That is why they usually remain out of sight of hawks.

But exceptions have been observed in some situations. Some species of hawks are seen to take small turtles in the air with its beak. They drop it from there so that the shell break, and they can have the flesh inside.

Sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach and hatch them there. After that, these baby turtles head to the water. As they are small and weak, they become easy prey. As a result, they become prey to hawks, eagles, or gulls.

Do Hawks Eat Turtle’s Egg?

Do Hawks Eat Turtles Egg
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Hawks eat eggs of all types of animals and birds. Sea turtles hatch their eggs on the beach. As turtle eggs are relatively big, it’s a preferable meal for all birds, including hawks. Hawk’s eagles and other big birds target eggs from above and keep watch on those. As soon as they get a chance, they snatch the eggs.

Turtles who live on the surface usually hide their eggs in tree leaves or small holes. As hawks’ eyesight is very sharp, sometimes, they may even snatch eggs from there.

Other mammals like skunks, mink, Opossums, badgers, and otters happily eat turtle’s eggs.

What Predators Eat Turtles?

What Predators Eat Turtles
Image Credit: JFibu, Canva

As hawks are not regular predators of turtles, then what predator eats turtles? Let’s break down this.

Turtles have a long list of predators everywhere in the sea, on land, and even in the sky. And here are some of those predators:

  • Raccoons
  • Opossums
  • Skunks
  • Foxes
  • Fellow Reptiles
  • Snacks
  • Dogs
  • Shark
  • Carnivorous Fish
  • Opportunistic Birds

Final Words

Hawks usually don’t eat turtles, as adult turtles are relatively large and have strong shells. Most of the time, they prefer to stay hidden. Besides, hawks prefer small and big prey.

Some species of hawks have been seen to prey on and eat turtles especially small to medium-sized turtles. Hawks take these turtles in the air with its beak. They drop it from there so that the shell break and they can have the flesh inside.

However, turtle eggs are on hawk’s favorites list like other eggs. Thanks for reading till the end, and I hope it helped.

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