The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle species on Earth. Found in almost all the oceans, it can grow up to 2 metre long and weigh up to 1.000 kg! It is also the only turtle species to not have a hard shell; its shell is leathery.

Unlike other sea turtles, the bony shell of the leatherback is not visible. Instead it’s covered by a leathery layer of black or brown skin, hence the turtle’s name. The shell has seven ridges running from front to back. Leatherbacks are the largest of the seven living sea turtle species, growing to more than 6.5 feet (two meters) in length and weighing up to 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). Leatherbacks are found in tropical and temperate marine waters all over the world. They live off both the east and west coasts of the United States, and also in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hawaii. Leatherbacks spend most of their lives at sea and sometimes look for prey in coastal waters. Leatherbacks have been documented diving deeper than 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). By contrast, scuba divers typically descend to only about 100 feet (30 meters). Additionally, the Pacific leatherback is the fastest aquatic reptile and can reach speeds of 22 miles an hour (35 kilometers an hour).

Jellyfish make up the biggest portion of their diet, but they also eat seaweed, fish, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates. Leatherbacks have downward-pointing spines in their throat, which allows jellyfish to be swallowed, but prevents them from coming back up. The migratory and pelagic lifestyle of the leatherback turtle makes it extremely difficult to investigate the ecology of this species at sea, which in turn hinders the conservation of this reptile at a global scale. The majority of our knowledge on the leatherback turtle comes from studying them during their reproductive phase when females migrate to tropical areas where they ascend onto beaches to nest.

Credit : Wildlife guide 

Picture Credit : Google 

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