The leatherback turtle (scient. Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest reptile in the world, with its shell growing up to 250cm and its weight, sometimes, exceeding 900kg. Infrequent appearances of the species have been reported in Greece (and in Crete), while there has not been reported any case of breeding on Greek beaches.
The leatherback turtle takes its name after its shell, covered by thick leather, rather than hard scutes, as the other sea turtle species. It lives permanently in the sea, usually in very deep and cold waters (up to 1200m depth), where it feeds on jellyfish and invertebrates. Its blades remind of paddles, helping it move very fast and to travel vast distances.
Like other turtles, the leatherback female turtles come ashore every 1-4 years just to give birth. The females dig a deep pit in the sand and lay 80-120 eggs therein, up to 12 times in the same breeding season. The buried eggs hatch after about 2 months.
Unfortunately, thousands of leatherback sea turtles lose their lives every year, after eating plastic bags that look like their favorite food, jellyfish.