The leatherback sea turtle, is the largest of all living turtles, a giant of the oceans, and one of the deepest-diving marine animals. Scientific name: Dermochelys coriacea.
Leatherbacks are also one of the largest living reptiles, up there with crocodiles, komodo dragons, and anacondas! They can reach lengths of 3 metres, and weigh up to 500kg.
Amazingly they feed exclusively on jellyfish and have bony protrusions in their mouths that help them catch their prey. In order to find jellyfish, leatherbacks will dive to an amazing depth, as deep as 1200m. That is deeper than most species of whale dive to!
Leatherbacks undertake huge migrations from their nesting grounds in the tropics, travelling as far south as New Zealand, and as far north as the Arctic Circle. They are truly remarkable creatures.
Populations of leatherbacks are declining in the Pacific, and are in danger of extinction. In comparison to olive ridleys, where we regularly see 20 females a night nesting at el Banco, we have only seen one or two leatherback females coming up to nest in a whole year.