Leatherback Sea Turtle

Dermochelys coriacea

The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of all sea turtles in the world, in fact it is the largest of all reptiles by weight. Unlike other sea turtles, leatherbacks have a special layer of fat under their skin which protects them from cold temperatures. They also have a thick rubbery hard outer shell that is slightly different from other sea turtles. Leatherbacks may be the most widely found reptile in the world because of their habit of following drifting jellyfish, their primary food source. They are found in tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and are currently on the endangered species list.

Characteristics

The leatherback sea turtle, named for its smooth, rubbery shell, is the largest of all sea turtles, growing up to 2.4 meters (6 feet) long and 1.6 meters (4 feet) wide. They weigh on average 400 kilograms (880 pounds). The largest leatherback on record was a male found stranded in Wales in 1988, weighing 916 kilograms (2015 pounds). Leatherbacks live between 30 and 50 years and sometimes much longer. They swim further (up to 12,000km) and dive deeper (1200 m) than any other sea turtle…

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