Thursday, September 18, 2014

Photo: Inside the Mouth of the Leatherback Turtle

Inside the mouth and throat of a leatherback turtle.
Some people quiver when they look at the rows of pearly white teeth in a typical shark's mouth. But in our opinion, the mouth of the leatherback turtle is much more intimidating. The turtle has hundreds of jagged stalactite-like teeth called papillae that run from the mouth down through the esophagus. The papillae allow the turtle to grasp and swallow it's favorite slippery prey, the jellyfish.

Leatherback turtles could easily win any competitive eating competition as these guys can chow down nearly 70% of their own body weight in jellies in just a single day. Considering these turtles can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, that equals a serious number of jellies. So it's a good thing mother nature equipped the leatherback with the perfect jellyfish-munching machinery to help soothe its insatiable appetite.