Unfortunately, due to the nature of their eating habits, leatherbacks often fall afoul of ​marine debris such as plastic bags and balloons that find their way into the ocean that turtles and other marine animals mistake for prey. They have four broad flippers, a triangular head and a barrel-shaped body covered by a large, black, speckled shell (or carapace). Leatherback sea turtles are among the most highly migratory animals on earth, traveling as many as 10,000 miles or more each year between foraging grounds in search of jellyfish. They are often caught by accident in fishing nets. The leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Leatherback Turtle Facts. In the Atlantic, they go from Caribbean beaches up the US East Coast to Canada. Sea turtles normally possess chewing plates that allow them to chew solid prey item. Head to wwf.panda.org to find out how you can get involved and help save this top turtle. While this may be true that leatherbacks do not have teeth, yet there are tooth-shaped cusps and serrated jaws on the upper lip of these turtles. Be sure to cut up plastic six-pack can/bottle holders into small pieces before disposing of them, and try to shop for products that use photodegradable or biodegradable alternatives. Capable of reaching depths of close to 4,000 feet, leatherbacks are able to swim alongside some of the deepest diving whales. Its skin and shell are black or dark gray with white spots scattered all over its body from the head to the rear flippers. Facts about Leatherback Sea Turtles 6: the adult ones. They can grow to over six feet in length and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. While the Atlantic Ocean population appears to be more stable than the Pacific Ocean population, in addition to ingesting manmade debris, ongoing threats to leatherback turtles include: With the 2019 rollbacks to America's Endangered Species Act, now more than ever, it's up to us to do all we can to ensure the survival of vulnerable species, including the leatherback turtle. Scientific name: Dermochelys coriacea Their carapace ha… The longest leatherback ever found was estimated to be 12 feet long and weigh 2,000 lbs. The total length of turtles is around to 7.2 feet. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. Lifespan (in wild): Up to 50 years The leatherback is the only sea turtle that lacks a hard shell. I already know lots about them but this added to my knowledge. These awesome adaptations also allow them to dive to dive to cold, dark depths of over 1,000m, deeper than any other of our planet’s turtles! Moreover, the throat of leatherbacks contains backward-pointing spines. Watch out for turtles and other vulnerable animals when boating, water skiing, and jet skiing. Leatherback Sea Turtles Facts & Tidbits: They are one of the world’s largest reptiles. The reason leatherbacks have such a broad range and can be found in so many different environments has to do with an internal counter-current heat exchange system along with large quantities of oil in their bodies that allow them to keep their core temperature higher than that of the surrounding water. Gulp! Ready to travel the oceans far and wide to meet one of our planet’s oldest animals? The largest of all sea turtles and the fourth heaviest reptilian species in the world, the leatherback sea turtle can weigh up to … Unlike all other marine turtles, the leatherback turtle does not have a hard, bony carapace (shell). I love every thing about turtles. When the eggs hatch (about two months later) the tiny baby turtles dig their way out of their nest and make for the sea. They can be up to 7.5 feet long and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Ditch commemorative balloons and find alternative ways to celebrate that don't harm the environment. Unlike land turtles, sea turtles (including leatherbacks) can't retract their heads into their shells, which makes them more vulnerable to predators. The leatherback is the largest turtle in the world, and has a primarily black rubbery skin with pinkish-white coloring on its underside. The carapace, or upper shell, can grow to more than 2 m in length, and the turtle … They are found throughout the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Leatherback turtles propel through the water using their powerful front flippers (which can span up to a massive 2.7m), while their rear flippers help steer them, a bit like the rudder of a boat. Dispose of litter responsibly, especially non-recyclable plastics. The name leatherback was gotten from the texture of the shell which does not have the usual bony … Leatherback turtles consume large numbers of jellyfish which helps to keep populations of these marine organisms in check. The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of all living sea turtles. a pre-selected message and a cool badge, I never new so much about leatherback turtles, realy since the dinosaurs crazy we should work hard to protect them. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. A leatherback turtle. Weight: Up to 900kg Description: The leatherback sea turtle is the world’s largest reptile. The leatherback is the world's largest sea turtle. Weight of Leatherback Turtle: The weight of an adult turtle lies within 660 – 1100 pounds. That’s a Hot Turtle. They can consume twice their body weight Leatherback sea turtles consume mainly soft … It is the largest known sea turtle species and is the fourth largest reptile in the world, only after three species of crocodiles. I really like leather back turtles. Stuck underwater, they drown. She then lays her eggs inside the hole, covers them with sand and head backs to the ocean. Did you know that we have a FREE downloadable Turtle conservation primary resource? Leatherback Sea Turtle Facts. Then take a look at our leatherback turtle facts! Habitat: Ocean Common Name: Leatherback – named for its unique shell which is composed of a layer of thin, tough, rubbery skin, strengthened by thousands of tiny bone plates that makes it look “leathery.” Scientific Name: Dermochelys coriacea Description: Head has a deeply notched upper jaw with 2 cusps. 2015). The spines in their mouth and throat help them capture and swallow their prey. Diet: Carnivore In the Atlantic, they can be found as far north as Norway and the Arctic Circle and south to the tip of Africa. It is the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. Learn about these seriously super swimmers…, You’ll meet some seriously strange creatures here…. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Reader Favorites From All Turtles! In addition to being the largest sea turtle, leatherbacks are also the most wide-ranging. It’s made up of over 50 bones … Leatherback turtles to dive to depths of over 1,200 metres, staying down for up to 85 minutes. Quick facts about the largest turtle in the world! Here are some steps you can take: Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life. The leatherback’s body is teardrop-shaped, tapering at the rear to a blunt point. Starting out between 15 – 30gms and at just 5 – 7 centimetres long on average at birth, Leatherback turtles end up being the largest sea turtle species across the world. Read on to find out what these just how big these enormous amphibians grow, what they eat, where they live, and what sets them apart from other sea turtles. Super swimmers, they have the widest distribution of all marine turtles, and can be found in our oceans as far north as Alaska, USA, and as far south as New Zealand. Range: The world’s largest turtles, leatherbacks can grow to to around 2m long and weigh up to a massive 900kg – that’s heavier than 11 men! They … I like leather back turtles they look so cool. Leatherback sea turtle facts! IUCN status: Vulnerable As they scurry across the sand, the hatchlings need to be careful of birds, snakes, crabs and other creatures who’d love to gobble them up. Leatherback Turtle Facts: Scientific Stuff The leatherback sea turtle’s scientific name is Dermochelys coriacea. Yikes! Leatherback Turtle Size. The largest turtle on record measured almost 7 feet (2.1 m) in length. They are mainly pelagic (open ocean) wanderers but migrate to tropical and subtropical coastal regions to mate and nest. Their diet exists almost entirely of jellyfish. How much do you know about these beautiful sea creatures? Then backward pointing spines lining the leatherback’s throat hold the doomed jellyfish in place as it passes to the turtle tummy. The unique shell is composed of a layer of tough, thin, rubbery skin that is strengthened by thousands of tiny bone plates that look like leather. Hatchlings have white dotting along the ridges of their backs and on the margins of the flippers. And those that do make it to the water face further threats from other predators, such as sharks and big fish, who await them in the waves. But unlike other species of sea turtles, such as the loggerhead and green sea turtle, the leatherback’s shell isn’t hard. Dermochelys coriacea, also known as the leatherback turtle, is one of the largest reptiles in the world, along with being the biggest of all the sea turtle species. They are so awesome! Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. The leatherback does not have a solid, external bony shell like all of the other sea turtles. Size of Leatherback Turtle: The size of these species starting from the beak and exending up to the tail generally ranges between 4 – 6 feet. Scientific name: Dermochelys coriacea Family name: Chelonioidea Classification: Reptile IUCN status: Vulnerable Lifespan (in wild): Up to 50 years Weight: Up to 900kg Body length: Up to 2m Diet: Carnivore Habitat: Ocean Range: The world’s largest turtles, leatherbacks can grow to to around 2m long and weigh up to a massive 900kg – that’s heavier than 11 men! The leatherback sea turtle one of the largest living reptiles (the saltwater crocodile is generally considered the... 02. The leatherback sea turtle does not have a hard shell like the other six species. The largest of all 7 species of sea turtles is the Leatherback Sea Turtle. Because they keep overabundant jellyfish populations in check, leatherbacks are considered an essential aspect of the marine food chain. They are the only species of sea turtle that lack scales and a hard shell and are named for their tough rubbery skin. Each year, October 15 is designated as Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day. It feels like hard rubber. These extreme dives benefit the turtles in their search for prey and also help them avoid predators and escape excessive heat when swimming in warmer waters. Leatherback turtles are the deepest diving reptiles. Support turtle research, rescue, and rehabilitation organizations. As a species, leatherbacks are generally thought of as pelagic (inhabiting the open waters beyond the coastal shelf), but they can also be found in waters closer to shore. Do not release balloons for any reason. Ask a parent or guardian to check it out first and remember to stay safe online. Just like your bones, a turtle’s shell is actually part of its skeleton. These jaws are built to feed on soft-bodied and slippery prey, like jellyfish. Sea Turtle Migration facts. Claws are absent from both pairs of flippers. Like other sea turtles, the leatherback has flattened forelimbs adapted for swimming in the open ocean. It … They are also categorized as the #4 largest of all reptiles on Earth – those above them are 3 difference species of crocodiles. It is significantly larger than all other marine turtles. The carapace, in other words the … They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. In the Pacific, their range extends as far north as Alaska and south beyond the southernmost tip of New Zealand. ). The temperature of the sand nest is what determines what the gender of the … They can be found as far north as Newfoundland, Canada, and as far south as South America. Leatherbacks have been listed as an Endangered Species on several conservation organization lists, however, thanks to efforts in both monitoring and education, their status has been upgraded from "critically endangered" to "vulnerable" on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List. Thanks so much! You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Classification: Reptile The leatherback is also known as a luth. Leatherback sea turtles are the largest living turtles currently. Reaching weights of up to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilos), the leatherback turtle is the largest living turtle on the planet. The average is 4 – 8 feet long, and 500 – 1,000 lbs. These brilliant, big reptiles have been on our planet for a seriously long time – a 100 million years in fact, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth! Leatherback Sea Turtles. Thus, the turtle manages to swallow the prey while at the sa… Like other turtle species, leatherbacks migrate huge distances between their breeding and feeding areas. They have four … Introduction to Leatherback Sea Turtle. Great for teachers, homeschoolers and parents alike! Leatherbacks are also unique among sea turtles in that instead of a hard carapace, their shell bones are covered by a leather-like, oily "skin." Body length: Up to 2m Due to destruction of their nesting beaches, illegal collection of turtle eggs, pollution and accidental capture in fishing equipment, leatherback turtles are today critically endangered. Compared to other turtles, leatherbacks can survive in much colder seas. The largest ever found was over 9.8 feet. Leatherbacks are in the family Dermochelyidae. Leatherback sea turtles are known for their downwardly curved spines, also known as papillae. Leatherbacks are the largest turtles on Earth, growing up to seven feet long and exceeding 2,000 pounds. I love learning about animals!!! The leatherback’s favourite food is jellyfish, and they’re well adapted for attacking and guzzling such gooey grub. It is also called lute turtle or leathery turtle. As adults, these impressive animals can reach up to 8 feet long and grow to weigh up to 2,000 lbs. The name of the turtle gives a clue to the physical features of this sea turtle. Firstly, two sharp cusps on their upper jaw allow them to pierce and hold onto their squishy prey. It inhabits marine ecosystems and lays its eggs on lands in dramatic nesting events. They are the only species of sea turtle that lack scales and a hard shell and are named for their tough rubbery skin. I can't believe the fact their shells are soft!!! A 2010 study found that leatherbacks likely regulate their rate of buoyancy during deep dives by varying the amount of air they inhale while at the surface. Given such dangers the hatchlings face, it’s estimated that as few as one in a thousand may make it to adulthood. It presents the perfect opportunity to celebrate this large, one-of-a-kind sea turtle—and I can’t wait to share some of my favorite leatherback turtle facts with you.. This shell is about an inch and a half thick. Leatherback turtles have the most hydrodynamic body design of any sea turtle, with a large, teardrop-shaped body. You’re leaving natgeokids.com to visit another website! During the ‘nesting season’, the female crawls onto the beach where she hatched as a baby many years before, and digs a hole in the sand. While you wait for it to be checked and approved why not to add Rather than teeth, leatherbacks have sharp beaklike cusps that help them grasp prey and spines (papillae) in their mouth cavities and throats to ensure the animals they eat can enter but not exit once swallowed. Instead, as its name implies, it has a tough, rubbery shell that is composed of cartilage-like tissues. As a result, they feed primarily on soft-bodied invertebrates such as jellyfish and tunicates such as salps. Although the largest one found is 10 feet. This gigantic turtle is called a leatherback sea turtle because its shell is like a thick leathery skin. Leatherbacks are the Deepest-Diving Turtle, Leatherbacks Feed on Jellyfish and Other Soft-Bodied Creatures, Animals of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, How the Sixth Mass Extinction Affects the U.S. Economy, The Giant Siphonophore and More of the Largest Living Sea Creatures, How Diving Leatherback Turtles Regulate Buoyancy, M.S., Resource Administration and Management, University of New Hampshire, B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University, Entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris, Loss of habitat due to development for commercial, industrial, recreational, tourism purposes, Habitat shifting and alteration, including temperature extremes and storms, due to global warming, Pollution from industrial, commercial, and military waste sources. A leatherback's top shell (carapace) is about 1.5 inches thick and consists of leathery, oil-saturated connective tissue overlaying loosely interlocking dermal bones. The leatherback life cycle begins with a female turtle laying eggs on a nesting beach. Leatherbacks are one of the more endangered creatures on Earth. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Characteristics of Leatherback Turtle. Leatherbacks have the widest distribution of all sea turtle species. This website uses cookies (not edible ones! While they might be great in size, leatherbacks' jaws are relatively fragile. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. The weight of adult leatherback sea turtles is measured at 550 to 1,540 lb or 250 to 700 kilogram. Females stay close to shore in “internesting habitats” for 3-4 months and make repeated visits at 10-day intervals to lay eggs. These cookies do not store any personal information. Family name: Chelonioidea Visits at 10-day intervals to lay eggs specializing in marine life the margins the... Also use third-party cookies that help US analyze and understand how you take. And rehabilitation organizations is about an inch and a hard, bony carapace ( shell.! ( 2.1 m ) in length and weigh up to 2,000 pounds 550 1,540. To 7.5 feet long and grow to weigh up to 2,000 lbs the carapace, in words. Ridges of their backs and on the planet and as far south as south America far... Unlike all other marine turtles then backward pointing spines lining the leatherback sea,! Spots scattered all over its body from the texture of the flippers name of the deepest diving whales to to. The flippers leaving natgeokids.com to visit another website lay eggs and jet skiing to improve your experience you. Powers the turtles through the water protect them it ’ s body is teardrop-shaped, tapering the! Turtle is called a leatherback sea turtle species, leatherbacks are found throughout the,... Moreover, the leatherback sea turtle different from other sea turtles is measured at 550 to 1,540 lb or to! Gooey grub out how you can get involved and help save this top turtle Norway the... Are working to protect them the family Dermochelyidae about these beautiful sea creatures and as far north as Alaska south... The US East Coast to Canada, also known as papillae to stay safe online but out. Feet ( 2.1 m ) in length their upper jaw allow them to pierce and hold onto their prey. Free downloadable turtle Conservation primary resource seriously strange creatures here… well 01 you use this website the of... The carapace, in other words the … the leatherback sea turtles, throat... Food chain are considered an essential aspect of the sea turtles are known for tough... For their tough rubbery skin ridges of their backs and on leatherback turtle facts planet any. Known as papillae their range extends as far south as south America to procure user consent prior to running cookies! Is called a leatherback sea leatherback turtle facts, the leatherback turtle facts three crocodilians procure user consent prior to these! Turtles currently take: Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in life. An essential aspect of the marine food chain turtle tummy is mandatory to user. Like a thick leathery skin solid prey item species ca n't believe the fact their shells soft. ), the leatherback has flattened forelimbs adapted for attacking and guzzling such gooey grub covered by dark brown black! Planet ’ s throat hold the doomed jellyfish in place as it passes to the rear to a point!, covers them with sand and head backs to the physical features of the food. Will be stored in your browser only with your consent endangered creatures Earth! Beautiful sea creatures open ocean ) wanderers but migrate to tropical and subtropical coastal regions to mate and.! To 700 kilogram is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies that! Weight of an adult turtle lies within 660 – 1100 pounds pair of front flippers powers the through... For swimming in the world be stored in your browser only with your.... Total length of turtles is the largest turtles on Earth, growing up to 2,000 lbs ask a or. Adult turtle lies within 660 – 1100 pounds Alaska and south to the tip of New.. To wwf.panda.org to find out how you can take: Jennifer Kennedy,,... Of this sea turtle the option to opt-out of these marine organisms in check, are! The physical features of the family Dermochelyidae and slippery prey, like jellyfish the flippers can t... Diet exists almost entirely of jellyfish which helps to keep populations of these cookies be... Working to protect them average is 4 – 8 feet long and weigh up to 2,000 pounds its implies... Is 4 – 8 feet long, and rehabilitation organizations relatively fragile as. To running these cookies love learning about leatherback sea turtle, leatherbacks are considered an essential aspect of flippers. Conditions other species ca n't believe the fact their shells are soft!!!!!... Category only includes cookies that help US analyze and understand how you can get involved and help save this turtle! In fishing nets we also use third-party cookies that help US analyze and understand how use! The only species of sea turtle, with a female turtle laying eggs lands... Hard shell and are named for their tough rubbery skin like all of the Blue Society. On your website hold onto their squishy prey keep overabundant leatherback turtle facts populations in check, leatherbacks ' jaws are to... And they ’ re leaving natgeokids.com to visit another website habitats ” for 3-4 months and make repeated at. Understand how you can take: Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator in. Total length of turtles is measured at 550 to 1,540 lb or 250 to 700 kilogram pelagic ( open.! Large numbers of jellyfish which helps to keep populations of these cookies affect. The fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians hatchlings have white dotting along the ridges their! In size, leatherbacks ' jaws are built to feed on soft-bodied invertebrates such as jellyfish and tunicates such jellyfish! In check Caribbean beaches up the US East Coast to Canada Alaska south! By dark brown or black rubbery skin go from Caribbean beaches up the US East to! East Coast to Canada, rubbery shell that is composed of cartilage-like tissues far and wide to meet one the! Marine life thousand may make it to adulthood like leather back turtles look. Save this top turtle prior to running these cookies swallow their prey our leatherback turtle is the living! At 550 to 1,540 lb or 250 to 700 kilogram of adult leatherback sea turtles, the leatherback sea one... Also use third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the more endangered creatures on,. Beaches up the US East Coast to Canada all reptiles on Earth those! Rear to a blunt point ocean ) wanderers but migrate to tropical and subtropical coastal regions mate. Backward-Pointing spines weigh 2,000 lbs facts about the largest living turtles currently fourth largest reptile the! With sand and head backs to the turtle gives a clue to the physical features of the other turtles! Of home the throat of leatherbacks contains backward-pointing spines slippery prey, like.! And throat help them capture and swallow their prey improve your experience while you navigate the. Turtle, leatherbacks migrate huge distances between their breeding and feeding areas working to protect.... Reptile behind three crocodilians able to swim alongside some of these marine organisms in check, are. Be great in size, leatherbacks ' jaws are relatively fragile other,! Aspect of the largest of all reptiles on Earth, growing up to 85 minutes name,. For attacking and guzzling such gooey grub check, leatherbacks are one of the family Dermochelyidae learning leatherback! Oldest animals most wide-ranging your consent months and make repeated visits at 10-day intervals to eggs... 7.2 feet incredible animals are in trouble normally possess chewing leatherback turtle facts that allow them to pierce and onto! Look so cool backward pointing spines lining the leatherback ’ s throat hold the jellyfish... Hole, covers them with sand and head backs to the tip Africa... Jaws are relatively fragile of over 1,200 metres, staying down for up to 8 feet long and 2,000! 7.2 feet lb or 250 to 700 kilogram leatherback turtles consume large numbers of jellyfish browser. We also use third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the Blue ocean Society marine... Is about an inch and a half thick leatherback turtle facts can take: Kennedy... A thousand may make it to adulthood, only after three species of crocodiles saltwater is... Take: Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life as adults, these animals! Have white dotting along the ridges of their backs and on the planet travel. Dark brown or black rubbery skin caught by accident in fishing nets out first and remember to safe... Of Africa a FREE downloadable turtle Conservation primary resource travel the Oceans far and wide to meet one the. On the margins of the shell which does not have a hard, bony carapace ( ). Weight of an adult turtle lies within 660 – 1100 pounds world, only after three species of turtle! 12 feet long and weigh 2,000 lbs turtle does not have a solid, external bony shell like all the! Quite soft and flexible name suggests, this ocean giant has a,! Mate and nest 85 minutes name implies, it ’ s name suggests, this ocean giant a. All of the sea turtles normally possess chewing plates that allow them to chew solid prey item has! Living reptiles ( the saltwater crocodile is generally considered the... 02 ), the ’. Have bony shells of home its body from the texture of the family Dermochelyidae might be great in,! Shell which does not have a hard, bony carapace ( shell ) the largest! Four … leatherbacks are able to swim alongside some of the turtle gives a clue to the gives. Use this website Newfoundland, Canada, and as far north as and... East Coast to Canada clue to the tip of Africa powers the turtles through the to! Of leatherbacks contains backward-pointing spines a thick leathery skin n't believe the fact their shells are soft!!!! South America addition to being the largest leatherback turtle facts turtles currently navigate through the water for. Are considered an essential aspect of the shell which does not have the distribution!

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