The leatherback is the largest living sea turtle

leatherback turtle

Scientists place satellite tracking tags on leatherback sea turtles to help understand where the turtles travel.

Weighing in at between 550 and 2,000 pounds (250 to 907 kilograms) with lengths of up to six feet, the leatherback is a big turtle! Leatherback sea turtles can be distinguished from other species of sea turtle by its lack of a hard shell or scales. Instead, leatherbacks are covered with a firm, rubbery skin.

You can find leatherback sea turtles as far north as Canada and the northern Pacific Ocean. They tend to nest in the tropics, however. Within the United States, the leatherback is known to nest in southeast Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The leatherback sea turtle feeds primarily on jellyfish.

The U.S. federal government has listed the leatherback as endangered worldwide. Primary threats to the turtles include incidental take in commercial fisheries and marine pollution, as well as the harvest of eggs.


For more information:
Leatherback Turtle, National Marine Fisheries Service
Northeast Fisheries Science Center Fish FAQ