All About Leatherback Sea Turtles
Leatherback sea turtles are one of the most interesting types of turtles you will find. They even stand out from the seven types of sea turtles in the world.
One sad fact about leatherback sea turtles is that they are under threat. If we don’t work to protect them, they could disappear forever.
We think education and awareness are important for sea turtle conservation. The more people know about these amazing creatures, the more they will want to save them. With that in mind, here are some fun facts about leatherback sea turtles.
How did they get their name?
This is one of the ways leatherback sea turtles are unique from other sea turtle species. Leatherbacks don’t have the hard shell people associate with most turtles. The leatherback carapace has a series of bony ridges and hard plates covered by tough leathery skin. This distinctive feature is the reason they have the name leatherback.
Why are leatherback sea turtles endangered?
Leatherback turtles are listed as endangered by the Endangered Species Act. Some organizations have them listed as vulnerable. Either way, they are under threat of extinction. While sea turtles face many threats, there are a few that stand out. For leatherback sea turtles, the biggest threats are commercial fishing and marine pollution. Habitat loss, poaching and climate change are also serious concerns for sea turtle conservation.
How big are leatherback sea turtles?
This is another way leatherback sea turtles stand out from other turtles. The leatherback turtle is the biggest turtle species still in existence. They look huge even when next to humans! The average leatherback turtle weighs around 700-1,000 pounds. They also grow to around 4-6 feet in length. With that said, the largest leatherback sea turtle on record was over 2,000 pounds and close to 10 feet in length.
How deep can they dive?
Sea turtles are known for their ability to dive deep down in the ocean. Even among sea turtles, this is another way leatherbacks stand out. Most sea turtles can dive to about 1,000 feet. For leatherbacks, depths of 3,000 feet or more are not uncommon. In fact, the deepest dive on record by a leatherback sea turtle was just short of 4,000 feet. They can dive the deepest and stay underwater for hours at a time.
Where do leatherback sea turtles live?
Leatherback sea turtles also cover the largest geographic range of any turtle species. They can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Their nesting beaches are at tropical latitudes throughout the world. They also have the greatest north-to-south range of all sea turtles. Leatherbacks can go as far north as Alaska and as far south as South Africa. They also have special adaptations that allow them to stay active at colder temperatures.What do leatherback sea turtles eat?
Leatherback turtles lack the hard jaws of their sea turtle relatives. If they eat anything too hard, it could damage their jaws. For this reason, jellyfish are the most common food for leatherback sea turtles. Along with that, they eat some types of fish, seaweed and marine invertebrates.
How long do leatherbacks live?
The average lifespan of leatherback sea turtles is unknown. Experts still don’t have the entire outline of their lifecycle. It is believed that they reach sexual maturity between the ages of 9 to 20 years. As for lifespan, it is thought that they live to at least 45 years. The average lifespan might even be beyond 50 years.
Check out our range of sea turtle bracelets if you are interested in sea turtle conservation. We donate to the Sea Turtle Conservancy with every sale. We will also send you tracking information for a real sea turtle.