A giant turtle has had to be lifted by a digger into a truck after it washed up dead on a Spanish beach. The enormous leatherback turtle, which can grow up to seven foot long, was discovered in Calella near Barcelona. Video footage shows the size of the beast as a digger hoists it from the beach and puts it down into the back of a truck which is parked on the side of a seaside road.
Leatherback turtles are named for their shell, which is leather-like rather than hard, like other turtles. They are the largest sea turtle species and also one of the most migratory, crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Pacific leatherbacks migrate from nesting beaches in the Coral Triangle all the way to the California coast to feed on the abundant jellyfish every summer and fall, according to the WWF.
Although their distribution is wide, numbers of leatherback turtles have seriously declined during the last century as a result of intense egg collection and fisheries bycatch. Globally, leatherback status according to IUCN is listed as vulnerable, but many subpopulations – such as in the Pacific and Southwest Atlantic are critically endangered.
Typically, they weigh between 600 and 1,500 pounds and grow to between 4.5ft and 5.3ft, although there have been reports of 7ft monsters. The turtle that washed up in Calella had died.
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