Everyone loves turtles. Their big eyes and fascinating shell patterns rival some of our world’s most beautiful creatures. From the turtles in our tanks to the ones that roam the oceans – there’s something about these animals that piques human interest more so than others. So when an utterly massive leatherback turtle washed ashore one afternoon, people came from far and wide to check it out. They had no idea they were looking at the world’s largest species.
The momma leatherback seen in this video carefully waded onto the beach, being sure to avoid curious humans and scoot past any possible predators. She needed to deliver her eggs – and nothing was going to stand in her way! Instead of blocking the determined mother for photos, the onlookers gave her plenty of space. They definitely wanted to behold the magic of the moment, but the last thing they wanted to do was interfere with nature’s work!
Even though it could be easy to assume the turtle here was a male due to his size, the Oceana website explains that female leatherbacks are the only ones to go ashore. They said: “Leatherbacks spend almost all of their time in the ocean with females only coming to shore to lay eggs. For that reason, from the time they hatch and enter the surf, males will never be out of the water again and are therefore more difficult to study than females.
“Leatherback turtles are known to travel incredibly long distances during their lifetimes. In some cases, individuals may travel across entire ocean basins (e.g., the entire Pacific Ocean), after they hatch, in order to reach juvenile feeding grounds. Throughout its lifetime, a leatherback turtle may cross the ocean several times, traveling to and from preferred feeding or nesting sites. Like other marine turtles, leatherback turtles return to the region where they hatched to mate and nest.”
These incredible creatures travel thousands of miles over the course of their lives, even though some of the largest leatherbacks can grow to be over seven feet long and more than 2,000 pounds. Their size doesn’t stop them from scouring the planet for the best feeding, mating and playing grounds! Take a look at this massive leatherback here: