The turtle nesting season has already started and until the end of February allows the visitors to get closer to another wonder of “Mother Nature”, the Leatherback Sea Turtles.
They have been here for over 65 million years. They have witnessed the fall of the dinosaurs and the rise of humanity. Their habitat spans the globe from the North Atlantic near the Arctic Circle to the South Pacific around New Zealand. Extraordinary creatures, they hold important secrets about biology and medicine. Leatherbacks are the largest turtle, reaching a shell length of 1.7m and a mass of 700kg. In 1980 there were over 115,000 adult females, but there are now less than 25,000 worldwide, and they are close to extinction in the Pacific Ocean. If action is not taken soon to protect Leatherbacks in the ocean and on nesting beaches the Leatherback will disappear in our lifetime.
Did you know?
- A Leatherback’s favorite food is jellyfish. They even have a special notch in their beak to help puncture the man-o-war jellyfish.
- Leatherbacks lay eggs the size of billiard balls and SAGs. SAGs are not eggs; they are smaller and have shell and albumen but not yolk
- The temperature in the nest determines if a hatchling will be male or female
- A Leatherback’s shell is covered by a leathery skin
- The “tears” that turtles “cry” are just their way of shedding excess salt
Be a Friend to the Leatherback
- Drive or walk on the beach above the high tide line- this crushes eggs and hatchlings in the nest!
- Walk on the beach at night- this scares turtles away
- Walk/stand in front of turtle
- Plant anything on the beach or dunes
- Use lights on the beach
- Use flash photography or video around a turtle
- Buy products made from turtles
- Speak very softly if near a turtle
- Use red lights instead of white on the exterior of your house if it is visible from the beach
- Tell a park official if you see any practices that may be harmful to turtles
- Appreciate this fascinating animal
Share your knowledge of Leatherbacks with others