Leatherback sea turtle
|Leatherback sea turtle|
Adults average 1–1.75 metres (3.3–5.7 ft) in shell length, 1.83–2.2 metres (6.0–7.2 ft) in total length and weigh 250 to 700 kilograms (550 to 1,540 lb). The largest ever found was over 3 metres (9.8 ft) from head to tail and weighed 916 kilograms (2,019 lb). It was found on a beach on the west coast of Wales.
The eggs and young are often eaten by predators, but the adults can defend themselves aggressively. Only the largest sea predators can tackle a leatherback successfully.
Leatherback turtles are one of the deepest diving marine animals. They have been recorded diving to depths as great as 1,280 metres (4,200 ft).
They are also the fastest-moving reptiles. The 1992 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records lists the leatherback turtle moving at 35.28 kilometres per hour (21.92 mph) in the water. Usually, they swim at 0.5–2.8 metres per second (1.1–6.3 mph).
They can live as far north as Alaska and Norway and as far south as the Cape of Good Hope in Africa and the southernmost tip of New Zealand. The leatherback is found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, and it also goes well into the Arctic Circle.
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