The Leather back turtle

Learn about the leather backs and help protect them!

What are Leatherback turtles?

Leatherback turtles or Dermochelys coriacea is a species of turtles. The Leatherback is the largest turtle in the world. The Leatherback is the only turtle that does not have a hard shell, instead it is a leathery, connective tissue. They grow to weigh about 2,000 pounds and grow to about 6.5 feet, This is larger than most people. Their lifespan is unknown and their diet consists of soft-bodied animals such as jellyfish and salps. Their front flippers do not have claws or scales and are proportionally larger than other turtle's front flippers. They are commonly known as pelagic or open sea animals, they do still come to the coast to forage for food. While they mainly live off the west coast due to the colder waters they have been found and are protected on most states on the east coast.

How they are endangered

The leatherback population has decreased by an estimated 40% in the last 3 decades. Some of their threats include being harvested for their eggs and themselves and incidental capture in fishing nets and other objects such as gillnets, longlines, trawls, traps/pots, and dredges.