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Animal Themes
Endangered Animals Theme Unit
Reptiles
Leatherback Turtles



Leatherback Turtles
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.34

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    backward-pointing, clutches, leatherback, luxurious, rubber-like, scutes, trend, virgin, defy, limitation, hence, metabolism, parental, tragedy, overall, definition
     content words:    Arctic Circle, Virgin Islands, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica


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     Spanish: La Tortuga Laúd


Leatherback Turtles   

1     Out in the oceans, there lives the Earth's largest turtle species -- the leatherback turtle. Indeed, its massive measurement -- up to 8 feet in length and 2,000 pounds in weight -- is nearly 3 times longer and 5 times heavier than the first runner-up, the green turtle! Yet, apart from its size, the leatherback turtle is equally famous for many of its rather un-turtle-like features and amazing behaviors.
 
2     To start with, most turtles cover their carapaces (upper shells) and plastrons (ventral shells) with a layer of large horny scales, called scutes. But, leatherback turtles choose not to do so. As their name implies, their carapaces and plastrons are leathery and rubber-like, with seven and five longitudinal ridges, respectively.
 
3     Next, leatherback turtles are cold-blooded animals that somehow function like warm-blooded ones such as seals. Cold-blooded animals, by definition, cannot regulate their body temperatures in accordance with their surroundings. Hence, as the environment in which they stay turns cooler, their rate of metabolism declines, making them torpid or inactive. Amazingly, leatherback turtles are able to defy this physical limitation, thanks to their impressive body mass and muscular activity. As a result, we can see leatherback turtles in cold waters not too far from the Arctic Circle. In addition, leatherback turtles have backward-pointing spines in their throats that help prevent their favorite food -- jellyfish -- from escaping.

Paragraphs 4 to 8:
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Animal Themes
             Animal Themes


Endangered Animals Theme Unit
             Endangered Animals Theme Unit


Reptiles
             Reptiles



Animals
    Amphibians  
 
    Birds  
 
    Deserts  
 
    Fish  
 
    Freshwater  
 
    Grasslands  
 
    Insects  
 
 
    Invertebrates  
 
    Mammals  
 
    Oceans  
 
    Polar Regions  
 
    Rain Forest  
 
    Reptiles  
 


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