A baby Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was born today in a turtle hatchery on Matara lantern beach.
This is the world’s largest turtle species and rarely appear in down south beaches. This turtle’s birth is significant to the country as it is a rare occurrence. About 80 eggs were collected along the beaches in Matara two months ago and placed at the hatchery.
These turtles which grow1.8 meters (5 feet 11 inches) and weights of 500 kilograms and can be easily differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell. The turtle is named leather back as its carapace (Top part of its shell) is covered with oily flesh and leather like skin.
Leatherback turtles have the most hydrodynamic body of any sea turtle, with a large, teardrop-shaped body. A large pair of front flippers powers the turtles through the water. They uses their hydrodynamic body and leather like skin and osteoderms (boney deposits forming scales) withstand high hydrostatic pressures as they dive to depths of 1200 meters.
The leather back sea turtle is also the only extant member of the Dermochelyidae which includes which has seven extinct species.
These gentle turtles which feed on jelly fish are listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list of threatened species. Most of these giant turtles face untimely deaths as they ingest plastic bags and polythene discarded into the sea mistaking it for jelly fish