Leatherback Turtle facts and data. Know Leatherback Turtle eating regimen, habitat, behaviour taxonomy, and many others See fascinating facts of Leatherback Turtle in our animal facts archive.

Scientific title: Dermochelys coriacea 
Scientific classification:
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Chelonia
Family: Dermochelyidae

What does it seem like?
The leatherback is the most important turtle, with a shell size of two m, a flipper span of three.5 m and a weight of greater than 700 kg. It lacks the distinctive, bony shell of the opposite turtles, as a substitute this construction has been changed by a light-weight, streamlined carapace that has a sequence of seven ridges working alongside its size. The entrance flippers are big and generate the ahead momentum for swimming. Its darkish higher floor is flecked with patches of white.

Where does it reside?
The leatherback turtle lives within the open ocean. It might be discovered all through the world’s oceans, however can not tolerate the chilly circumstances within the excessive polar areas.

Characteristics

The leatherback turtle is the most important and most peculiar of all of the turtles. They start life deep down within the sand of a well-liked nesting seashore, the place females haul their appreciable bulk from the water to excavate nest holes for his or her eggs. For a marine animal, supremely tailored to life within the water, that is no imply feat and the feminine scrapes and pants and snorts till she has dug out a deep gap that may shield her eggs. This gap will likely be made in sand that's suitably moist, however safely past the attain of waves. She can lay as many as 1,000 eggs in a season, separated into batches of 50–170. The digging of a nest gap is so far as the feminine’s maternal instincts prolong and as quickly as she has coated over the clutch with sand she makes for the ocean in a zigzag fashion to cowl her path. The younger hatch after a number of months and their first activity is to dig themselves from the nest gap. For a turtle that's simply getting used to its flippers this isn't straightforward, however quickly sufficient they clamber out of the opening and on to the seashore. This alerts the beginning of an extended and harmful gauntlet the younger should run. Apart from some powerful scales and power of numbers, the turtles are defenseless and many beady eyes have been surveying the sand ready for his or her emergence. Gulls, skuas, and crabs all descend on the turtles and make quick work of them. So many younger emerge without delay that a couple of are sure to break by this barricade to the protection of the surf. The younger’s swimming skills are instinctive and as quickly as they enter the water their tiny, fl ailing flippers propel them out to sea. In the open ocean, hazard can be ever current and many extra turtles will likely be taken by predators. A lucky few are in a position to keep away from the gnashing jaws of different sea creatures and scour the oceans on the lookout for food. The favored meals of these turtles are gelatinous, fl oating creatures corresponding to jellyfish. They are hardly probably the most appetizing sea food, however they're straightforward to catch. There are not any enamel within the turtle’s jaws, however its throat is lined with backward curving spines that assist it swallow its jellylike food. As the turtle grows, the distinctive construction of its carapace turns into ever extra apparent. The thick leathery pores and skin covers a posh association of small, linked bones embedded in cartilage. Compared to a standard shell, this construction could be very light-weight and permits the leatherback turtle to vary for 1000's of miles across the globe. Only females ever make the return journey to land to deposit their eggs, males however will reside out their complete life at sea, cruising the oceans with highly effective strokes of their flippers. No one is bound over what distances the leatherback turtle ranges, however a person tagged in Surinam, in South America, turned up on the opposite facet of the Atlantic, over 6,800 km away. Unlike the opposite marine turtles, the leatherback turtle is just not restricted to tropical and subtropical waters. A big animal loses warmth extra slowly than a smaller creature so the nice bulk of this reptile offers it a bonus in chilly water and a thick layer of fats minimizes the quantity of warmth that's misplaced by the pores and skin. An environment friendly circulatory system makes use of the warmth generated from swimming to heat the blood coming back from the cool limbs. All these diversifications permit the turtle to hunt within the chilly productive waters from Iceland all the best way down to New Zealand.

Key Facts

  • There are round 300 species of residing turtle. They are divided into the marine types with legs modified into flippers, terrestrial types with thick, pillar-like legs and semiaquatic types (the terrapins and snapping turtles). The turtle skeleton is probably probably the most peculiar of all of the vertebrates. Not solely have they got a shell, composed of fused, bony plates, however the pelvic and pectoral girdles supporting the forelimbs and hind limbs are discovered contained in the rib cage.
  • The breeding seashores utilized by the leatherback turtle have been a thriller till comparatively lately. Today, a number of seashores scattered all through the tropics are recognized to be utilized by the turtle. Most are mainland websites dealing with deep water. They appear to keep away from these seashores protected by coral reefs. Many leatherback turtles will deposit their eggs on the identical seashore they hatched from.
  • It is troublesome to say precisely how lengthy a leatherback turtle can reside for, however such a big, sluggish rising creature should reside for at the very least 100 years and probably far longer.
  • Today, most of the turtle species are severely threatened by habitat loss and looking. A turtle’s shell can shield it from most predators, besides people. Many species are hunted for his or her meat, which is a delicacy in lots of elements of the world. The marine species should all come to land to breed and the sheltered, sandy seashores on which they rely are on the mercy of vacationer and industrial developments. Negligent use of the seas has additionally endangered many species as they're caught and suffocated in fishing nets, injured by boat propellers and harmed by air pollution. Even on protected seashores, hatchlings are sometimes confused by metropolis lights and find yourself scuttling away from the ocean.