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Information on Leatherback Sea Turtles

  • Overview

    Information on Leatherback Sea Turtles
    Information on Leatherback Sea Turtles
    Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are the largest reptiles on the planet, reaching lengths of 4 to 8 feet and weighing 500 to 2,000 lbs.
  • Identification

    The turtle's most notable identifier is the absence of a hard shell. The carapace (upper shell) is black, ridged and rubbery. The skin is mottled black, with a prominent pink spot on the head.
 
  • Habitat

    Leatherbacks can maintain a higher core temperature than other sea turtles, enabling them to inhabit colder waters. They are found in all major oceans.
  • Nesting

    Females migrate to tropical beaches to nest, coming ashore several times during the nesting season at night to lay 70 to 100 eggs. Hatching occurs at night and juveniles immediately scramble to the water.
  • Conservation

    Conservation efforts concerning the turtle are affected by the policies of many different countries. The harvesting of eggs and meat as well as being accidentally snared in fishing and shrimp nets caused a major population decline. Since they feed mostly on jellyfish, leatherbacks often mistake plastic bags and other ocean debris for food.
  • Warning

    The leatherback sea turtle is an endangered species throughout its range. Nests, eggs, juveniles and adults are completely protected in the United States.

    References & Resources