The gigantic Mesozoic leatherback is one of the world’s largest reptiles, weighing up to 2,000 lbs and attaining an average length of 6 – 8 feet. Unlike other turtles, all of which have typically hard shells, the leatherback’s flexible carapace verges on the rubbery side. Only the females ever leave the ocean. The eggs they lay take about eight weeks to hatch. The tiny hatchlings are only 2 to 3 inches long when they appear, and immediately they dig themselves out of the sand and scuttle to the water. When fully grown they will be capable of diving to depths of 3,000 feet – pretty amazing. They are also experts at long distance travel The transoceanic journeys they take, between breeding and feeding areas, average 7,500 kilometres each way.
Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.
What do they eat?
Jellyfish, sea squirts and other soft-bodied animals.
Coastal development, industrial fishing practices, poaching, by-catch and plastic bags floating in the ocean (sadly, they mistake them for jellyfish).
Status: Critically Endangered
Marine turtles have existed on Earth and inhabited the oceans for the last 100 million years. They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. Scientists globally are observing Leatherbacks to ascertain how they can be saved for future generations.
“I know up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down at the bottom we, too, should have rights” Dr Seuss