With the world’s oceans increasingly becoming more vulnerable to human activities, the sea turtles that live there are feeling this pressure too. But among all the species of sea turtle, one stands out as being bigger and badder than them all – so what is the largest sea turtle? Today we’ll be talking about who holds the crown for “biggest sea turtle”, how they’re evolving to survive against new obstacles, and some fun facts along the way. Read on to learn a bit more about the largest sea turtle in the world!
Sea turtles – introduction
Sea turtles are large, air-breathing reptiles that live in the ocean. They’re found in warm and temperate waters across the globe and have existed for more than 100 million years! They’re generally divided into seven species, with most preferring shallow coastal areas over the open ocean. Sea turtles have a number of adaptations that allow them to survive in their habitat, from powerful front flippers for swimming and an internal mechanism to regulate salt levels.
What is the largest sea turtle?
The largest species of sea turtle is the Leatherback, and they are considered to be the biggest turtle in the world.
How much does a Leatherback Sea turtle weigh?
Leatherback sea turtles can weigh up to 2,000 pounds (900kg) and reach lengths of up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). That’s about the size of a small car!
How do Leatherback turtles survive?
Living in such an unforgiving ocean environment, these turtles need every tool they can get their flippers on to survive. Fortunately, nature has equipped them with quite a few tricks up their sleeves! Leatherbacks have adapted to become better swimmers, able to dive further and deeper than any other reptile. The ridges along their shell also help reduce drag when they swim, allowing them to reach speeds up to 35km/h.
The Leatherbacks turtles also have a unique ability that allows them to thermal regulate their body temperature and explore much deeper waters than other sea turtles can – even as far down as 1,200 meters! This is due to the layer of fat found beneath their skin which helps keep in the heat, giving them an advantage over any predators lurking around deep below.
Where are Leatherback Sea turtles found?
Leatherbacks are mostly found in the subtropical and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They migrate across vast areas of the ocean to feed on their favorite foods like jellyfish and other soft-bodied invertebrates.
What do Leatherback Sea turtles eat?
Leatherbacks have a unique diet compared to other sea turtle species, as they mainly feed on jellyfish and soft-bodied invertebrates. They use their razor sharp beak to scoop them up from the ocean floor or pluck them from the water’s surface. They also eat crustaceans like crabs, shrimp, mollusks, and other sea snails.
What is the lifespan of a Leatherback Sea turtle?
The average lifespan of a leatherback sea turtle is estimated to be around 45 years, though some have been known to live up to 50 or even 60 years. Unfortunately, due to the threats they face from humans such as fishing nets and pollution, most don’t make it past their mid-20s.
Are Leatherback Sea turtles dangerous?
Leatherbacks are not considered to be dangerous creatures, though they can use their sharp beaks and claws to defend themselves if threatened. Their most powerful defense is their size, as they are the largest turtles in the world and have a huge advantage over any potential predators.
Are Leatherback Sea turtles endangered?
Unfortunately, leatherback sea turtles are considered to be endangered in many parts of the world due to human activities such as fishing, plastic pollution, and climate change. Many conservation efforts are now underway to help protect these amazing creatures and their future generations.
Fun facts about Leatherback Turtles
Leatherbacks are one of the most fascinating species of sea turtle; here are just a few facts about these amazing creatures:
- They’re the only type of turtle without a hard shell. Instead, they have a layer of flexible leathery skin that protects them from predators.
- They’re the deepest-diving sea turtle, able to reach depths of 1,200 meters!
- Leatherbacks are one of the longest living species on Earth and some can live as long as 50 years.
- Females return to the same beach they were born on to lay their eggs each season.
- These turtles can travel thousands of miles in the open ocean, covering a range of up to 17,000 kilometers!
The Leatherback Sea turtle is by far the largest sea turtle out there; not only because of its impressive size but due to its amazing adaptations that allow it to thrive in even the harshest environments. So next time you spot a leatherback turtle, don’t be afraid to admire from afar and remember the amazing journey it has taken just to get there.