On Saturday evening, officials from the Massachusetts Environmental Police found a dead leatherback sea turtle in the waters around Cape Code. Biologists perform necropsy on giant sea turtle in order to determine how the reptile died.
According to the reports issued by the team of biologists who performed said necropsy, the turtle has been dead for at least 2 to 3 days. Upon closer analysis, they have found large fragments of rope stuffed inside the turtle’s mouth and several signs of abrasion on the surrounding soft tissue.
It seem that the gentle giant got caught in a fishing rope and being unable to free itself, sank to the bottom of the sea and drowned. The female turtle measure over 6 feet and it also had multiple tags attached to its shell. Biologist said that the tags were attached probably at the time when she laid her eggs in the nest located somewhere on the Caribbean beach.
The leatherback turtle or the Dermochelys coriacea is considered to be one the largest reptile on Earth. This kind of turtle can easily be distinguished from its brethren by looking at the shell. Normally, a turtle’s shell has a bony constitution. The leatherback turtle’s shell is covered with skin and flesh.
These gentle giants of the sea have a very hydrodynamic body shaped like a tear and very powerful front flippers. The front flippers can actually measure up to 2 and half meters in length by adulthood.
The overall dimensions of the sea turtle are quite impressive. It seems that an adult can reach a length of over 2 meters and can weigh up to 700 kilograms. The largest specimen of leatherback turtle was found on a beach in Pakistan. It had 213 centimeters in length and weighted 650 kilograms. Additional data gathered from different studies comes to suggest that the leatherback can actually reach 1000 kilograms in weight.
Leatherback turtles feed on jellyfish and other sea organisms like tunicates and cephalods. Normally a leatherback turtle can live up to 30 years, though some other reports suggest that their lifespan can exceed 50 years.
Biologists perform necropsy on giant sea turtle to see if other mishaps like these can be prevented. Also, biologists are waiting for additional reports from the territory in order to establish the exact location where the turtle perished.
Fun fact: each year, the leatherback sea turtle travels to the water around New England in order to seek out fresh jelly fish and they usually come back to the Caribbean in the winter.