Leatherback treat as giant turtle surfaces
Wildlife watchers spotted a giant leatherback turtle as it hunted jellyfish off Cornwall.
The turtle – the fourth biggest species of reptile – is rarely spotted in British waters. But a group of tourists on a wildlife cruise were treated to the sight of the animal as it hunted for food in Falmouth Bay.
The turtle, measuring four feet in diameter and six feet long, swam through the water in front of the onlookers.
One said: "What an incredible sight. The sea was dead calm like a mirror and from a distance we were expecting an encounter with a basking shark. To our amazement the leatherback turtle surfaced.
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"Its shell was at least two metres. It spent some time swimming gracefully alongside us, feeding on the abundance of jellyfish.
"It was a breathtaking experience for all onboard."
Only a handful of leatherbacks are spotted each year – but they are usually seen off Land's End or the Isles of Scilly.
Matt Slater, marine awareness officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, described the sighting as "an enormous privilege".
He said: "It is very exciting when we get a sighting."