leatherback sea turtle

The leatherback is the world's largest turtle. Unlike the bony exterior of other sea turtles, the exterior of the leatherback's shell is rubbery, because the bones are under the skin. They enjoy snacking on jellyfish and seaweed. Because people have been building houses on the beaches where leatherbacks nest, they have been on the Endangered Species List since 1970.

Scientific name: Dermochelys coriacea
Size: 5 to 6 feet long
Diet: jellyfish, shrimp, and other small ocean creatures
Habitat: Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans
Characteristics: large turtles with leathery shells
Threats: overfishing, pollution, the introduction of non-native animals, and the development of tropical beaches

Image credits: main image: courtesy of AMNH, Hall of Reptiles.