Leatherback Sea Turtles

Sea turtle nesting season officially begins May 1st and runs through October 31st. But for the leatherback sea turtle nesting in Florida occurs from March through July and a female typically nests at intervals of two to three years, depositing multiple nests per season.

It's unusual for a sea turtle to lay eggs in broad daylight, but that's just what this leatherback turtle did at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area! The Friends of Gamble Rogers State Park shared this video of the turtle going back to sea and they also have an album of photos of the first leatherback nest of the season.

Video https://www.facebook.com/FROGRS/videos/845783229102146/

Flickr Rainbirder LEVIATHAN

Of the three species of sea turtles that nest in our area, leatherbacks are by far the least prevalent. In 2018, Flagler County had 6 leatherback nests, 314 loggerhead nests, and 14 green sea turtle nests.

Screen Shot 2019 03 30 at 8.00.01 AM

Data from www.turtlepatrol.com

Leatherback sea turtles can be found primarily in the open ocean and survive on a diet mainly of jellyfish. They follow their prey throughout the day, resulting in turtles "preferring" deeper water in the daytime and shallower water at night when the jellyfish rise up.

Leatherback turtles are known to pursue prey deeper than 1000 m—beyond the physiological limits of all other diving tetrapods except for beaked whales and sperm whales. Not much is known about their lifespan. It’s estimated at anywhere between 30 and 100 years.

Mating takes place at sea. Males never leave the water once they enter it, unlike females, which nest on land.

The United States listed leatherbacks as an endangered species in 1970. Currently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists the species as Vulnerable (VU) as it meets one of the 5 red list criteria and thus considered to be at high risk of unnatural (human-caused) extinction without further human intervention.

In Florida, it’s a 3rd degree felony to take, disturb, mutilate, destroy, cause to be destroyed, transfer, sell, offer to sell, molest, or harass any marine turtle species, or the eggs or nest of any marine turtle species.

If you come across a sea turtle that is stranded or dead; a hatchling that is wandering in a road, parking lot; or directions other than the water; or if you see someone disturbing a nest or turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Law Enforcement at 1-888-404-FWCC or *FWC from your cell phone.

Drone video of leatherback going back to sea after nesting. https://youtu.be/1X9CP_rFZzI

http://www.turtlepatrol.com

https://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20181031/good-turtle-season-on-volusiaflagler-beaches

https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/sea-turtle/

Leatherback sea turtle Tinglar USVI 5839996547

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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

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