Leatherbacks are primarily pelagic animals. They travel great distances from their nesting beaches to their feeding grounds. Although leatherbacks are most often found in tropical waters, they are distributed around the globe in temperate oceans, and even on edges of subarctic water. The leatherback sea turtle travels further north than any other sea turtle. They live in Northern Atlantic waters as far north as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Labrador. They also inhabit South Atlantic Waters, as far south as Argentina and South Africa. This turtle inhabits waters as far east as Britain and Norway.
During the nesting season they are discovered along the coasts of French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, Gabon, West Africa, Parque Marino Las Baulas in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Thailand, in the U.S. on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and in Puerto Rico and Florida. The largest nesting colony is in Africa, along the coast of French Guiana. More than 7,000 females laid as many as 50,000 eggs there in 1988 and again in 1992. There is one nesting record in Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
Biogeographic Regions: oceanic islands (Native ); indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )
- Eckert, S. 2006. High-use oceanic areas for Atlantic leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) as identified using satellite telemetered location and dive information. Marine Biology, 149/5: 1257-1267. Accessed August 22, 2007 at www.springer.com/journal/227.
- Martof, B., W. Palmer, J. Bailey, J. Harrison III. 1980. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
- Spotila, J. 2004. Seaturtles. Baltimore and London: The John's Hopkins University Press.