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Huge leatherback turtle filmed off Cornish coast

Huge leatherback turtle filmed off Cornish coast

Published by Emma Carton at 7:39am 15th August 2019. (Updated at 11:30am 15th August 2019)

A leatherback turtle - one of the biggest reptiles in the world - has been spotted off the coast of Cornwall.

It was seen swimming in Falmouth Bay and is the first confirmed sighting in UK waters this year.

The creature was filmed by 14-year-old kayaker James Adger on Tuesday and is estimated to be two metres long!

"It was an amazing sight, half the length of our kayak and easily as wide - spotted seconds after a barrel jellyfish".

Kayaker James Adger

If you watch one video all day - make it this one!

Researchers at the University of Exeter reckon this leatherback probably comes from a breeding location in the Caribbean or French Guiana.

"Leatherbacks are warm-blooded and are known to swim into northern waters, including those of the UK, each summer to eat their preferred prey of jellyfish.

"They are spread all over the Atlantic, so it's very special to see one as close as James did.

"Coming so close to the shore can lead to problems for turtles, because it can expose them to plastic pollution and the risk of boat strike.

"We would ask boat users to be vigilant, especially if they spot lots of jellyfish in a certain area".

Professor Brendan Godley, University of Exeter

Rod Penrose, who runs the UK turtle sightings and stranding scheme, confirmed this is the first live sighting of a leatherback recorded in UK waters this year.

He would welcome any other records of sea turtles in UK waters and anyone lucky enough to spot one can email rodpenrose@strandings.com

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