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Wildlife: Hickatee


Hickatee - Trachemys decussata angusta; (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac)


The size of the adult carapace is up to 11 inches and can be uniformly brown or olive, but in some cases is patterned with dark and light patches. The plastron of the adult is solid pale yellow. Hatchlings have a heavily patterned carapace which is olive with small orange and yellow circles and the plastron is pale yellow with dark wavy patterning and highly variable. This turtle has significantly long claws along with webbed digits. A noticeable feature is a yellowish stripe behind the eye, sometimes pinkish or orange. Males have longer foreclaws and tails than females. It lives in fresh or brackish water ponds and wetlands and is intolerant of seawater. Older males display a very different colour pattern that has caused them to be mistaken for another species. They are often found sunning on logs in the water along dyke roads and will jump into the water when disturbed creating a splash as they disappear. Probable life span is 25 to 30 years. They are omnivores, feeding on aquatic vegetation and insects. Nesting behaviour has never been observed, but is probably similar to other slider species. This species has been shown to interbreed with Red-eared Slider turtles which were introduced to the Cayman Islands as pets. It is also called the Taco River Slider. The absence of fossil remains indicates that hickatees may have been introduced by early settlers as a food supply.

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