Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Testudines
Suborder Cryptodira
Clade Americhelydia
Family Dermochelyidae
Genus Dermochelys
Species D. coriacea
Scientific Name Dermochelys  coriacea

Leatherback Sea TurtleOther Names

Lute turtle, leathery turtle

Leatherback Sea Turtle Description

  • One leatherback sea turtle traveled as much as 20,000 km (12,000 mi) foraging journey over a period of 647 days.
  • Prominent among their prey is jellyfish which they follow all day long.
  • The Pacific leatherbacks generally migrate about 6,000 mi (9,700 km).
  • Leatherback sea turtles will dive 1,000 meters deep into the water to hunt prey.
  • Leatherbacks have few natural predators once they attain maturity.
  • They are the fastest moving reptiles.
  • They dive as deep as 1,280 m (4,200 ft).

Size & Weight

Adults:

  • TOTAL LENGTH: 83–2.2 m (6.0–7.2 ft)
  • WEIGHT: 250 to 700 kg (550 to 1,540 lb)
  • CARAPACE LENGTH: 1–1.75 m (3.3–5.7 ft)

Largest Specimen:

  • TOTAL LENGTH: 213 cm (6.99 ft)
  • WEIGHT: 650 kg (1,433 lb)

Habitat

Open oceans, tropical and subtropical waters

Range

Alaska, Norway, Cape Agulhas, New Zealand, Arctic Circle, Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Newfoundland and Labrador, Suriname, French Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Gabon, Caribbean, Solomon Islands, Washington, Oregon, California

Diet

Jellyfish, cephalopods, tunicates

Reproduction

80 – 85 eggs

Sexual Maturity

16 years

Incubation Period

20 – 25 days

Hatching Period

60 – 70 days

Nesting Period

February – July

Nesting Intervals

2 – 3 years

Population

34,000 – 36,000

Lifespan

  • 30 – 50 years (avg.)
  • 100 years (max.)

Speed

  • (Max.) 35.28 km/h (21.92 mph)
  • (Avg.) 1.80–10.08 km/h (1.12–6.26 mph)

Predators

Ghost crabs, monitor lizards, raccoons, coatis, small plovers, large gulls, dogs, coyotes, genets, mongooses, cephalopods, requiem sharks, raptors, killer whales, great white sharks, tiger sharks, jaguars, frigatebirds

Conservation Status

Vulnerable