The flatback is the least studied of the sea turtles and has one of the smallest geographic ranges. The only endemic sea turtle species, flatbacks nest solely along the northern coast of Australia, and live solely on the continental shelf between Australia, southern Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
Data Deficient (Conservation Status Unknown)
Nesting only on northern coast of Australia
All life stages occur on continental shelf north of Australian continent.
Global Biogeography of the Flatback (SWOT Report, vol. IV, 2009)
Length 80-95 cm
Mass up to 100 kg
Length approximately 45 mm
Mass approximately 40 g
For all life stages, mostly benthic invertebrates (crabs, other crustaceans, and mollusks) and sometimes jellies
Reproduce every 2-4 years
Lay 2-3 clutches of eggs per season
Lay 50-70 eggs per clutch
Billiard ball size eggs weigh 70-80 grams
Incubation period approximately 60 days long
For a long time, flatbacks were thought to be a type of green turtle, but were finally described as a separate species in 1988
Flatbacks have the largest eggs and hatchlings relative to their adult body size of all sea turtles
Flatbacks have a unique physiology that allows them to stay active underwater for longer periods than most other species
Over much of their nesting range they are predated upon by saltwater crocodiles, which have also been know to attack human beings. Because of this, there are virtually no underwater photos of adults taken in the wild.