Picture of the Day: The Mighty Leatherback
THE MIGHTY LEATHERBACK
In this photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region, we see the mighty Leatherback sea turtle at the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuse in the US Virgin Islands.
The Leatherback is the largest, deepest diving, and most migratory and wide ranging of all sea turtles. An adult leatherback can reach 4 to 8 feet (1.2 – 2.4 m) in length and 500 to 2000 pounds (226 – 907 kg) in weight. [Source]
The Leatherback is also the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians and can be easily differentiated from other sea turtles by its lack of bony shell. Instead, its carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh. Leatherback’s front flippers can grow up to 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) in large specimens. They are also one of the deepest diving marine animals. Individuals have been recorded diving to depths as great as 1,280 metres (4,200 ft). [Source]
And if their resume wasn’t impressive enough, they are also the fastest-moving reptiles and were recorded in the 1992 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records moving at speeds of 35.28 kilometres per hour (21.92 mph) in the water. [Source]