The Leatherback Sea Turtle
- Adult leatherbacks can reach to 2,000 pounds,
- Average weight of a hatchling is 1.5-2 ounces.
- Adult average length is 6.5 feet
- Hatchling length is 2-3 inches
- Primarily black/grey shell with white blotchy coloring
- Lack a bony shell
- Covered by skin and oily, leathery flesh
- Carapace has 7 longitudinal ridges and tapers to a blunt point]
- Sensitive, scissor like jaw
- Predicted life span is 40-45 years
Leatherback are carnivorous. Their typical diet is soft bodied animals like jellyfish and salps.
These turtles are on the U.S. endangered species list. Leatherback turtles face threats on both nesting beaches and in the marine environment. The greatest causes of decline and the continuing primary threats to leatherbacks worldwide are long-term harvest and incidental capture in fishing gear. Harvest of eggs and adults occurs on nesting beaches while juveniles and adults are harvested on feeding grounds. Incidental capture primarily occurs in gill nets, but also in trawls, traps and pots, longlines, and dredges.Together these threats are serious ongoing sources of mortality that adversely affect the
species' recovery. (Evans, 2004)
Evans D., "Sea Turtle Conservancy." Retrieved from http://www.conserveturtles.org/seaturtleinformation.php?page=leatherback
Javech, J., "Leatherback." NOAA, Retrieved from http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/seaturtles/turtle%20factsheets/leatherback-sea-turtle.htm