Leatherback Sea Turtle


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  • Size: About 6 feet (1.8 meters) front to back. With the front arm span around 8 feet (2.5 meters)
  • Weight: Between 1200 pounds (550 kg) and 1450 pounds (664 kg)
  • Habitat: These turtles inhabit the open seas. They are rarely sighted from the nesting areas, however some sightings have been found in feeding areas.
  • Food: Their menu consists of jellyfish, planktonic tunicates, and some fish
  • Leatherback turtles are by far the largest of sea turtles. They seem to have the highest survival rate compared to the other sea turtle species. One problem they have is that they can not differentiate between plastic bags and jellyfish. It has been found that nearly 50 percent of non-breeding leatherbacks examined had plastic in their stomachs, which can lead to death. It has been estimated that there is about 75,000 total nesting females. Females lay between 60 to 105 eggs at a time and can nest four to six times a season.
References: Groombridge, B. 1982. The IUCN Amphibia Reptilia Red Data Book:
Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhynchocephalia. IUCN, Switzerland
Photo courtesy of NOAA