Distribution

The leatherback turtle has the largest range of any sea turtle and is found from Alaska to the southern tip of Africa and present in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Adults mate in tropical waters and females nest on beaches throughout the tropics.

They migrate great distances to cooler waters and are travelling almost constantly, swimming some 10,000km per year.

An adult Dermochelys coriacea is able to survive in temperate and sub-arctic waters due to its large size (thermal inertia), insulating sub-epidermal fat and counter-current blood flow, allowing it to maintain a deep body temperature of at least 18°C.

Although the range of juveniles is unknown, they appear to be unable to leave the warmth of tropical waters.

They live a pelagic existence and adults feed primarily on jellyfish.

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