Fascinating Facts about the Leatherback Sea Turtle
Leatherback sea turtle information is widely available, and once you begin to research these remarkable creatures, you will discover some shocking facts. This turtle is considered to be the largest living sea turtle in the world, and can grow up to eight feet. Unfortunately, these beautiful creatures are in decline and are now on the endangered list.
- Unlike many other turtles that can be found, the leatherback has a soft shell, which is where the name originates. The shell is made up of small bones, which are covered with a rubbery, tough skin providing the leathery texture. The adults are predominately dark brown or black, with pale markings on their bodies.
- Younger generations of leatherback sea turtle have white marking son their flippers, which they use for swimming. Typically you will find this variety of turtle in warmer oceans, where they spend a considerable amount of time in the water. They have the ability to dive to excessive depths and have been known to dive as deep as 4,200 feet, which is incredible.
- The female leatherback sea turtle only tend to come onshore when laying their eggs, and they will crawl to a sandy area where she will dig a hole. In this hole the female will lay a clutch of up to 80 eggs, before covering with sand and returning to the water. After two months hatching will occur, where the youngsters make their way to the ocean, to begin their life.
- There are reported to be over 30,000 nesting females worldwide, however, only one in a thousand leatherback sea turtles mature to adulthood. A combination of the loss of suitable nesting habitat and egg poaching has resulted in a decline in numbers. Many turtles also perish every year due to eating the plastic debris that is found in the ocean.
- Leatherback sea turtles are known as pelagic sea creatures that forage in coastal waters for food, and will migrate to other areas if they feel threatened. You can discover this variety of sea turtle from Norway to New Zealand, and they have a high global presence. There are sub populations of the sea turtle in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In fact, there are remarkably few waters where the leatherback sea turtle cannot be found.
- Many countries consider the turtle eggs to be a delicacy, and in Malaysia and parts of the Caribbean they are thought to be an aphrodisiac. Although the act of killing and harming leatherback sea turtles is illegal, this does not stop everyone. These turtles are known to have been in existence for over 110 million years, but now they are in danger.
- Over the years these turtles have been hunted for their meat, caught in fisherman’s nets and driven from the habitat that they love. This has resulted in a huge decline of numbers, and in 1970 the leatherback sea turtle was placed on the endangered list. Although their lifespan should be 45 years, many have their lives cut short.