The Beacon

Blog Tags: Sea Turtle Conservation

Creature Feature: Leatherback Sea Turtle

This creature feature is on leatherback sea turtles

A leatherback sea turtle hatchling (Dermochelys coriacea) in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo: Tim Calver / www.timcalver.com)

If you’re an ocean lover, you’ve probably heard of the mighty leatherback sea turtle—the largest of the seven sea turtle species. Leatherback sea turtles can grow over six feet in length, and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.  Besides their massive size, their unique appearance makes them easily distinguishable from the other sea turtle species. They lack a solid carapace, and instead have a dense layer of black, leather-like tissue, for which they’re aptly named.


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Video: Leatherback Sea Turtle Rescued from Fishing Gear

A leatherback sea turtle was rescued from fishing gear off New Jersey

A leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). (Photo: Oceana / © 2009 Tim Calver  www.timcalver.com)

As you likely know, natural predators aren’t the only threats to sea turtles and marine mammals in the open ocean—many manmade threats, like derelict fishing gear, pollution, and plastics, constantly endanger marine life. Fortunately, a recent encounter between a leatherback sea turtle and a derelict fishing net had a positive ending for the turtle.  


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Baby Sea Turtles Found to Make Noise to Coordinate Hatching

Leatherback sea turtles make noises

Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) hatching from their nest in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

If you’ve ever witnessed a sea turtle nest hatch, you’ve probably noticed that it seems like these reptiles emerge from their nests in silence. Scientists have long assumed that too, but a new study adds to a growing body of literature that finds that baby sea turtles can in fact make noise—and this communication is key to a successful hatching  process.


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World Sea Turtle Day Spotlight: Five Ways to Help Sea Turtles This Summer (Photos)

Leatherback sea turtle hatchlings on the U.S. Virgin Islands

Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their nest on the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

Of the seven sea turtle species in the world, six nest in the United States, and all of them are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act — harmed by bycatch, marine debris, boat strikes, pollution, and many more threats.


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