Cause of death unknown
A five to six foot dead leatherback turtle washed ashore in front of the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport Thursday. The turtle's shell looked as if it had been split in two.
It is unknown at this time if the turtle was struck by a boat or if there was another cause of death.
According to an IFAW official, a Massachusetts Audubon Society representative reportedly responded to the scene to examine the turtle.
According to NOAA, leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea, are the largest turtle in the world. They are also the world's largest living reptile. Adults can grow up to 6.5' and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Leatherbacks are considered pelagic, or open ocean animals, but they are also known to forage along the coast in search of food, mainly jellyfish. Leatherbacks were designated an endangered species in 1970 and their critical habitat has been revised and expanded twice since then.
Photo and report by David G. Curran.