Attention IE7 Users

We have phased out support for your browser version (Internet Explorer 7). Please upgrade to one of these more modern browsers:

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Animal's Behavior

Leatherback Sea Turtles are solitary animals and migrate great distances between feeding and nesting grounds. They migrate from cold waters where they mainly feed, to tropical beaches where they mate and the babies hatch. Mating takes place at sea and nesting occurs on the beach. Females mate every two to three years. Leatherbacks choose any beach within a region to lay their eggs, while other sea turtle species almost always return to their same hatching beach.

Eating Habits

Leatherbacks are carnivores. Their primary diet consists of jellyfish. However, they are also known to eat sea urchins, squid, crustaceans, fish and sea weed.


The Leatherback ranges from North Atlantic waters as far north as Newfoundland and South Atlantic waters as far south as Argentina and South Africa.

Conservation Efforts

The Leatherback Sea Turtles were added to the Endangered Species list in the United States on June 2, 1970. To help this species nature reserves have been established in coastal areas where the turtles breed, and some governments require the use of Turtle Exclusion Devices (TEDs) on fishing gear.

Animal Facts

  • The Leatherback is the largest, deepest diving, most migratory and wide ranging of all sea turtles.
  • The largest Leatherback ever found was 8.5 feet long and 2020 pounds.

Back to Animal Profiles

Quick Facts

Scientific Name

Dermochelys coriacea


Animalia, Chordata, Vertebrata, Reptilia, Testudines, Dermochelyidae, Dermochelys


The largest of all living sea turtles measuring 4 to 8 feet and weighing up to 1770 pounds


Dark brown or black skin


Estimated 45 years

Conservation Status


Where to See

In the Wild

Mailing address: Audubon Nature Institute 6500 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70118
| Copyright © 2016 | Privacy Policy | Mobile Site