It is now the middle of April, and the Leatherback Sea Turtles are starting to re-appear on our Atlantic beaches.  I heard of one set of prints that measured seven feet across. The Leatherback is the largest species of turtle in the world.  It is the fourth largest Reptilian, only beaten by three species of Crocodilians. 
The Leatherback is the only turtle that has a soft, flexible shell.  All other turtles have a hard, bony carapace.  The Leatherbacks have seven distinct ridges running across their backs from front to back. They are the most hydrodynamic with their large, tear-shaped bodies. They also have the largest flippers in relation to overall body size compared to any other turtle. Adults range from 550 to 1,500 pounds.  
Instead of teeth, the Leatherbacks have pointed upper lips with backward spines in their throats to keep the prey from getting loose, and to help them swallow. This also helps them eat their favorite food which is jellyfish. This has proven to be a curse for many Leatherbacks who confuse plastic bags for being jellyfish. Once they have a plastic bag in their mouth, they are pretty much doomed to a death of starvation. Being unable to spit the bag out, they usually die.
Leatherbacks are some of deepest-diving marine animals on the planet. They have been recorded to dive at depths of 4,200 feet. Typical dive times are between 3 and 8 minutes. On rare occasion they will dive for 30 to 70 minutes.  Leatherbacks can swim up to 22 MPH, but usually set the cruise button between 2 and 7 MPH. 
The first baby hatchlings I saw were Leatherbacks. I am going to try to see an adult in person this year; they are nearly the size of a Volkswagen Bug. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 
God bless you all,
RHM