Along with its own hulking size, the leatherback sea turtle is more famous because of its name-giving carapace–unlike other turtles which have shells made of interlocking plates, the leatherback sea turtle has a leathery skin-like shell which gives it a look similar to this of thick whale conceal compared to a interlocking mosaic of embryonic bits. Moreover, the ridged teardrop form of the leatherback sea turtle’s body gives it the maximum hydrodynamic body of all of the sea turtles. Between its compact shell and huge flippers (big adults may have a flipper-span of almost eight feet broad), the leatherback sea turtle can quickly power its way through the sea searching for food, mates, and nesting sites.
So how large is big from the turtle world? A mature leatherback sea turtle could be almost six feet long (if measured in curved carapace length) and, even in case measured for total length, can exceed seven feet. When they are young, they already weigh hundreds of pounds, but by adulthood, the largest leatherback sea turtles may tip the scales in a bit over 1,500 pounds.
Image courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (*****).
You may expect us to start by talking about how enormous a leatherback sea turtle is contrasted to other turtles. However, the leatherback sea turtle is really large in comparison to other turtles which we really should move up the family tree for some actual, meaningful contrast. The leatherback sea turtle is not only the largest volcano, but the fourth most contemporary reptile from the animal kingdom, outclassed from the heavyweight ring by just 3 members of the Crocodilia family. That is correct, the closest weight-class claws into a leatherback sea turtle would be the biggest of this crocodilians: the salt water crocodile, the Nile crocodile, and the Orinoco crocodile (alligators, if you are curious, do not even come close to eclipsing the leatherback sea turtle).