This page describes the turtle species that occasionally strand on our shores.
Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Length: up to 2.7 m, but our records show stranding lengths of between 1.5 and 2.0 m.
Colour: black, spotted with white.
Distinctive features: biggest of all living turtles - much larger than other species described here and can weigh up to 900 kg. The shell does not have scales, is relatively soft (hence the name "leatherback") and has pronounced longitudinal ridges.
Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta)
Length: up to 1.5 m, but usually juveniles (0.3-0.5 m) reach our shores.
Colour: reddish brown
Distinctive features: youngsters have pointed knobs alone the spine of the shell.
Kemp's Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Length: up to 0.7 m, but usually juveniles (0.3-0.5 m) reach our shores.
Colour: grey or olive green.
Distinctive features: shell width equal to or greater than shell length.
Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Length: up to 1.2 m
Colour: dark olive brown or grey above, white underside.
Distinctive features: white underside and smooth shell.
Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Length: up to 1.0 m
Colour: reddish brown, amber yellow and black tortoiseshell pattern.
Distinctive features: glossy shell, with overlapping central scutes (shell scales).
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