Leatherbacks are the largest living sea turtles, weighing in up to 2,000 pounds, and reaching up to seven feet in length.
These turtles can be distinguished from other species of sea turtle since they do not have a hard shell or scales, but are covered with a firm, rubbery skin instead. The video below shows a giant leatherback turtle that came to shore for a break in the sand.
The massive creature amazed the several tourists on the beach, and it used its flippers to crawl across it and make its way towards the ocean. It is huge!
After a few attempts and pit stops, it finally reached the waves and swam off.
These turtles live in the tropic and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Adult leatherbacks also traverse as far north as Canada and Norway and as far south as New Zealand and South America.
The leatherback sea turtle feeds primarily on jellyfish.
During nesting season, they crawl out of the water to dig a nest and lay their eggs in the sand. When the eggs hatch, the ocean is near for the baby sea turtle to make it back.
These babies take 15-50 years to reach maturity, and can live more than a hundred years!
These reptilian relics are the only remaining representatives of a family of turtles that traces its evolutionary roots back more than 100 million years. Unfortunately, while these turtles were once prevalent in every ocean except the Arctic and Antarctic, their population is rapidly declining in many parts of the world.
The U.S. federal government has listed the leatherback as endangered worldwide. The primary threats to them include marine pollution, incidental take in commercial fisheries as well as the harvest of eggs.