Turtle Talk: Leatherback Sea Turtles

November 2017

How big are leatherback sea turtles? How do they swim? Find this out and more in this video about leatherbacks in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
(Video: John Dutton)


Hi, my name's Andrew and I'm on the edge of the spectacular Monterey Bay.

We're asking people that visit this area from around the world what they know about sea turtles.

Sea turtles? Sea turtles? Leatherback turtles.

Get a load of some of these answers.

I would think Australia and Hawai‘i,

more like tropical places.

I've never seen turtles around here.

It doesn't like the cold water.

I don't think very much about sea turtles.

Southern, south of Mexico, San Diego, warmer waters.

They're a different animal. They can survive at different temperatures.

I believe they swim in the ocean

maybe in ocean currents and
they come up to spawn on the beach.

I believe they nest on beaches.

They just crack and hatch and then the
little turtles say hey

and head to the ocean because that's where
we need to be next.

A lot of them are kind of scared and don't know what to do.

And also the baby turtles they also get caught by the birds.

And then they swim with their parents, right? If I'm not mistaken.

Well they eat vegetables, they eat plankton, they eat seaweed.

I believe they eat shrimp, too.

They're feeding on jellyfish, there's lots out there for them. Plenty.

Other turtles probably eat other baby turtles, just 'cause they're a food source.

I think the French eat lots of turtles.

Humans eat them in different cultures.

Who would eat turtle soup? I don't know. That would be horrible to think anyone would, really.

I think they're protected so we can't technically eat them or capture them.

In the United States you technically can't do it, I mean all the other countries probably do.

They take the eggs, do they?

I don't know.

Is it the big, big one? The huge one.

Kind of like this.

Some of them must be, what, a meter across?

That big.

What I know from Finding Nemo, they get to be a good size.

Oh my god! Really?

That's a leatherback?


Woah. Big.

They look like a dinosaur.

Where was that?

It was caught here?

But it's more Southern Hemisphere, warmer waters.

It doesn't like the cold water. Really?

800 kilograms? Very big.

It's large. It's probably quite old, I would guess.

That's amazing.

And that's out there!


Right there.

That's fantastic.

Gigantic, too.

I picture them kicking with both legs coordinated.

They just flip like that. Maybe like that.

Do that. It's almost like a breast stroke.

Just protect them as best we can.

And I will definitely do anything in the future to make them less endangered.