Name: the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest of all living turtles and is the fourth heaviest reptile.
Appearance: they are similar to other turtles although they can be easily distinguished by the lack of a bony shell. Instead, they are covered by a layer of thick, leathery skin.
Size: adults typically measure around 1.8 to 2.2 metres in length and weigh between 250 to 700 kg.
Diet: they feed almost entirely on jellyfish. One of the threats facing leatherbacks is the number of plastic bags floating in the ocean. They can mistake bags for jellyfish, causing their stomachs to fill with plastic waste.
Did you know: leatherbacks are one of the deepest-diving animals in the world. Individuals have been recorded at depths of over 1,200 metres. They are also the world’s fastest-moving reptile, reaching a top speed of 35 km/h. However, very little is known about how long they live. Some reports claim 30 years, others state 50 years, and some even suggest over 100 years.
Location: they have the widest distribution of any turtle species – being found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, and even in the Arctic Circle.
BEST PLACES TO SEE Leatherback SEA TURTLES
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see leatherback sea turtles are as follows:
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Photo credit: GTM NERR, under a Creative Commons license from Flickr