The biggest turtle in the world

Turtles deserve respect for many reasons. This animal is one of four species that exists on planet Earth 220 million years (!). They can do a thousand kilometer trip across the ocean for months without food. And its dimensions? Were found fossils arkhelona (sea turtle) weighing over 2000 pounds, powerful beak and a total length of about 5 meters.

Today, the tortoises are smaller, but still their size is quite impressive. Among the largest land tortoises – the elephant living on the Galapagos Islands (diameter of the shell is 1.8 meters, weight about 400 pounds). Their shells can grow lichens, which is not surprising – after all, the life reaches 200 years.

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They live in the water more – among freshwater reptiles are found specimens with the diameter of the shell about 2 meters. But this is not the limit: meet – the largest turtle in the world.

Leatherback turtle

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Science-studied instance caught on the West coast of Wales, with a shell diameter of 2.6 meters, weighing 916 kilos and the scale of the front flippers of about 5 meters.

The development of this animal differed from the relatives. The carapace of the leatherback turtle consists of small Horny scutes (small bones). The most extensive are formed longitudinal ridges, and the shell composed of fused plates of bone. The leatherback turtle anywhere to draw the head, and such a giant to hide from enemies and not stuck. In the mouth are bone spikes, which she grinds up food, and if necessary, may eat a thick stick.

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Body shape of the turtle most adapted for swimming – it is capable of speeds up to 35 miles per hour. This is pandering owns another achievement – the fastest aquatic reptile. The leatherback turtle is an excellent diver: her record dip – 1280 meters. However, it can stay under water for 70 minutes.

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Her skin and muscles are composed of such a dense layer of fat that 100 years ago people used it to seal the seams of boats. With curatorial with stuffed leatherback turtle continues to stand out the fat that creates a lot of inconvenience.

Thanks to him and the dense cover, leatherback turtles can maintain a constant body temperature, but for this she needs to constantly eat. Its habitat is the tropics, but reptile is found in temperate and Northern latitudes. Data was recorded when leatherbacks overcame 20000 kilometers from the coast of the United States to Indonesia for 2 years.

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Because of the ability for a long time not to drink water and food, sailors in the Middle ages used the turtles as «living canned». So was completely destroyed some species in the Islands. Although its meat is edible for humans, there were cases of poisoning, as in eating a poisonous jellyfish their toxins that are dangerous for turtles, become a threat to people.

Breeds leatherback turtle once in several years. In the breeding season the female may take up to 700 eggs. For this with its powerful paws it digs in the ground burrows-tunnels to a depth of five feet, fills them with eggs and digs in. Among the unfertilized eggs occur under the layer of sand they burst, creating a kids space.

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After the birth of the baby turtles crawl to the top, raking the sand paws-flippers as if swimming. The path to the water – the most dangerous moments for kids, as the beaches they are waiting for the birds and crabs, willing to eat the young. But, once in the water, their chances of survival increase exponentially.

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Interestingly, the male leatherback turtle is the only real direct threat to humans. There were cases when in the mating season he took swimmer for the female and for a long time were not allowed out of his embrace.

This is strange – the tortoise is the biggest in the world, she can handle a shark, and she dies from enemies smaller than her dozens of times. On land it goats, rats and pigs who never lived in nesting. Not long ago, one subspecies was transferred from the endangered category to vulnerable, but a serious threat still remains. Another enemy of the turtles, from which there is no salvation in the ocean is plastic. Transparent material the animal takes for jellyfish and die after swallowing in pain.

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