In addition to having a large body size, they also have a large distribution - with the largest worldwide distribution of any other reptile (and possibly vertebrate).
Unlike other Sea Turtles, the carapace of the Leatherback is different in that it is made up of ridged and flexible hard skin with oily flesh, rather than a hard shell.
It is estimated that only one in a thousand Leatherback hatchlings survive into adulthood. If a female hatchling survives, she will return to the beach where she was born to lay her own eggs one day.
Here are some of the problems this species is facing:
- Egg harvest and consumption
- Loss of nesting sites from coastal development and erosion
- Food scarcity
- Fishery bycatch
- Pollution and waste*
*Did you know that Leatherbacks have been found with over 10 pounds of plastic in their stomach?! Plastic bags floating in the sea look like one of the Leatherbacks favorite treats, Jellyfish.
- Don't litter because this harms Leatherbacks and other wildlife.
- Organize a beach cleanup with family and friends.
- Female turtles nesting on beaches should not be disturbed, neither should their eggs. Be sure to leave these animals alone.
- Spread the word, so we can have Leatherbacks for decades to come!
Reptile: A cold-blooded animal with scales or scutes. Turtles, crocodilians, snakes, and lizards are all reptiles.
Carapace: Is the top section of the exoskeleton or shell of turtles and tortoises. The underside (or bottom shell) is called the plastron.
Hatchling: A baby bird or reptile that has recently emerged from an egg.