Educational materials have been created by scientists, filmmakers, students, educators, and passionate advocates and compiled here for educators to use in their classrooms.

Our goal in sharing these materials is to inspire both teachers and students to learn more about Belize’s national treasure, the Hicatee.

With your help, during Hicatee Awareness Month each October and beyond, we can inspire future generations and leaders to recognize the important cultural and historic value of the Hicatee.

This incredible package of materials was distributed by BFREE to 100 preschools and primary schools in Cayo and Belize Districts in 2018 – areas in which Hicatee have historically been found.

We invite educators to develop their own materials to promote the conservation of endangered wildlife like the Hicatee turtle. If you have any questions or if you would like to share materials or curricula that BFREE could help distribute next year, please email them to us at,

The hicatee is disappearing, but together we can save it!

Educational Resources for the Critically Endangered Hicatee Turtle


This special poem was written for kids by BFREE Science and Research Fellow and alumnus of Sacred Heart Junior College in Cayo, Mr. Jaren Serano. This is a great poem for teachers to read aloud to their students or for students to take home and read with their parents.


This is a great classroom resource that includes a coloring sheet and lots of information about reptiles in Belize including the Hicatee. There is also a conservation word search for students of all ages to enjoy! The Activity Guide was created by The University of Florida, Zoo Miami, and Lamanai Field Research Center with support by the Turtle Conservation Fund and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.


The full length 16-minute natural history film, ‘Hope for Belize’s Hicatee: Central American River Turtle,’ features a critically endangered turtle species being intensely harvested for its meat. This film highlights the cultural significance of the hicatee in Belize, the environmental pressures propelling it toward extinction as well as the current work being done in Belize to save the species.


Laws have been created to help protect the Hicatee and save this unique species of turtle.

It is ILLEGAL to buy or sell a Hicatee 
Any females caught must be between 15.2 to 17.2 inches in size
A person must have no more than 3 Hicatees on them at any time
A vehicle must have no more than 5 Hicatees in it at any time.


These fully aquatic turtles live in deep rivers, lagoons, and other freshwater bodies. Unlike many reptiles, hicatee do not bask in the sun. This makes them very difficult to see in the wild. We have created a photo album with pictures of hicatee turtles of all ages at the Hicatee Conservation and Research Center located at the BFREE Biological Research Station.


With the guidance and support of Drs. Steven Platt and Thomas Rainwater, BFREE staff published their first scientific note using data collected from four cohorts of hatchlings at the HCRC. The note was included in the March issue of Herpetological Review. With new data being gathered daily, there is no shortage of information to share as we seek to better understand these unique turtles.


The 2020 Save the Hicatee Calendar features drawings made by Belizean students during the 2018 Poster Contest as well as juvenile and adult photos of hicatee turtles. The calendar has been shared with classrooms in Belize and a limited quantity are available with a donation in the US. The version available here is without photos.


The Hicatee Fact Sheet is a two-page resource for students of all ages. Learn about the current laws and regulations. Read more about National Hicatee Day, the Hicatee Pledge, and making the Hicatee Belize’s National Reptile. In addition, there is a list of 14 helpful facts about the species covering everything from what they eat to where they live.