Leatherback Sea Turtle Facts On What Do Turtles Eat
Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) knowledge is limited even though they are the largest of the sea turtles. They can grow upwards of 6.5 feet long and weigh as much as 1,400 pounds as adults. And although you may never ask what do turtles eat in regards to a pet leatherback sea turtle, they are still worthy of the interest and protection they have recieved.
The leatherback sea turtle gets its name from its thick leathery shell, which is like a thick leathery skin with the texture of hard rubber.
As unique as they are, the leatherback sea turtle, and all sea turtles for that matter, suffer from the same possibility of extinction.
They are currently on the Endangered Species List due to over fishing, accidental death in fishing gear, habitat loss, water pollution, and excessive collection of turtles and their eggs for human consumption.
Leatherback Sea Turtle – Where Can They Be Found?
The leatherback sea turtle will often undertake a massive migration to find food. They’ve even been tracked crossing the entire Pacific Ocean, from Asia to the West Coast of the United States.
At times the leatherback sea turtle has also been found as far north as Norway and as far south as Chile. This is unique for sea turtles because they normally prefer warmer waters.
This is possible because these sea creatures are quite unique compared to their other sea turtle and reptile cousins. They are able to keep their body temperature warmer due to a thick, oily fat layer beneath their skin.
So unlike all other sea turtles, the leatherback sea turtle is not confined to the warmer oceans and can freely swim almost anywhere it chooses.
What Do Turtles Eat – Leatherback Sea Turtle
The leatherback sea turtle is unique among sea turtles in that their primary source of food is jellyfish. It’s the absolute favorite food of the leatherback sea turtle!
This is probably because they have delicate scissorlike jaws that could be damaged by anything other than soft bodied animals such as fish or jellyfish. They have two sharply pointed cusps, one on the upper and one on the lower jaw that helps them pierce jellies and other soft-bodied organisms.
Because it is illegal to have a leatherback sea turtle as a pet, you’re unlikely to ever be in dire need to know what do turtles eat in regards to a leatherback sea turtle at home. But in the wild their diet is pretty straightforward and easy to understand.
What Do Turtles Eat In The Wild – Leatherback Sea Turtle
In the wild they are likely to have a varied, yet mostly carnivirous diet consisting mainly of:
Fish, Mollusks, Squid, Sea Urchins, and Other Marine Creatures
Keep in mind that and adult leatherback sea turtle will tend to roam the seas alone, gathering only to feed on large populations of jellyfish on occasion.
What Do Turtles Eat In Captivity – Leatherback Sea Turtle
Although you’ll never have to ask yourself what do turtles eat at home regarding the leatherback sea turtle, you can sometimes find them at zoos and aquariums around the world.
In a zoological environment sea turtles can be maintained on a purely carnivorous diet. Different from what you would find in the wild.
What Problems Face The Leatherback Sea Turtle?
Unfortunately these amazing sea creatures are more popular than is good for them. As an endangered turtle there are many threats to them both on land and in the ocean.
Common threats to the leatherback sea turtle in the ocean include getting stuck in fishing gear and nets, pollution, and collision with boats.
They are also hunted for their flesh, eggs, and thick, leathery shells.
On land, human development is the main threat to the leatherback sea turtle. Coastal construction, disorientation of hatchlings by beachfront lighting, and beach cleanings pose significant threats to nesting females and their hatchlings.
In the United States, major beach habitat protection and nest-protection efforts are underway for most of the significant sea turtles nesting areas.
There has also been significant progress made in reducing mortality from commercial fisheries in U.S. waters with the enforcement of turtle excluder device regulations.
Knowing What Do Turtles Eat For A Happy And Healthy Leatherback Sea Turtle
We are still a long way to go to make leatherback sea turtles safe for generations to come but we’re on the right track.
But now you should have a better understanding of how to answer the next time someone asks you, what do turtles eat especially for the leatherback sea turtle.
If you enjoyed this information, or have any suggestions please be sure to comment below or share this page with someone you know who would benefit from this information.
Photo Credit: Doug Perrine/Seapics.com