The leatherback turtle is the largest turtle in the world and can weigh up to 400 kg (880 lbs) and reach lengths up to 2.4 m (6 ft) long. The leatherback turtle gets this big in part by eating their favourite food - jellyfish, yum! They can eat their weight in jellyfish in a single day! The leatherback turtle needs their strength though, since they swim distances up to 12,000 km and can dive up to 1200m - farther and deeper than any other turtle! The male leatherback turtle spends his entire live in the ocean while the female leatherback turtle comes to beaches to lay eggs - up to 100 at a time, called clutches.
Why the Leatherback Turtle Needs Our Help
The leatherback turtle is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, with estimates that only 30,000 remain. The leatherback turtle is endangered due to loss of nesting habitat, getting accidentally caught in fishing gear and drowning, getting hit by boats and ingesting plastic, which looks like jellyfish. Sources: IUCN: The Leatherback Turtle, Vancouver Aquarium, Aqua Facts: The Leatherback Turtle
Save the Leatherback Turtle
- Reduce your use of plastic. This is a big step for all sea turtle conservation, including saving the leatherback turtle.
- Follow guidelines at turtle nesting sites
- Write a letter to the Costa Rica Congress pushing for stronger protection for the leatherback turtle nesting habitat
- Sponsor a turtle through WWF and literally track its movements everywhere it goes Volunteer in the leatherback turtle conservation project in Panama
- Volunteer in the leatherback turtle conservation project in Costa Rica
Sign up for the Leatherback turtle Expedition
- Contact Save Our Leatherbacks Operation to inquire about other volunteer opportunities with the leatherback turtle
The leatherback turtle photo courtesy of: RedJamJar