Leatherback Nesting In Florida

Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. where leatherback turtles regularly nest.

Leatherback turtle nesting on beach

With the exception of a few nests on the west coast, leatherbacks nest almost exclusively on the east coast of Florida. In fact, about 50 percent of leatherback nesting occurs in Palm Beach County.

Leatherback sea turtles are named for their rubbery shell and are the largest sea turtles. Adults can weigh between 700 and 2,000 pounds and reach 4 to 8 feet in length.

Leatherback nesting in Florida occurs from April through July. A female will nest at intervals of two to three years, laying between six to nine nests per season. They lay about 80 fertilized eggs and then cover them with a layer of about 30 unfertilized eggs. This layer serves as protection from predators like birds and raccoons and also regulates the temperature.

Map showing density of leatherback turtle nesting areas in Florida

View Statewide Leatherback Nesting Data Adobe PDF (25 KB)



FWC Facts:
The Gulf sturgeon spawns 140 miles upstream from the mouth of the Suwannee River, one of the last pristine rivers with no dams to bar its path.

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