What do you know about giant turtles?

1. True or False? The leatherback turtle is the largest species of sea turtle.

True and False (depending on how you ask the question). The leatherback is the largest living species of sea turtle. Adult leatherbacks can weigh up to 1100 pounds (500 kg) and grow almost 6 feet (1.8 meters) long.

However, the largest known sea turtle (and any kind of turtle) ever, is called Archelon. Archelon lived during the Late Cretaceous epoch, approximately 80 million years ago. Archelon could weigh up to almost 5000 pounds (2200 kg) and grow up to 16 feet (almost 5 meters) long from head to tail. Archelon lived in the Western Interior Seaway, an ocean that once formed in the middle of what is now North America.  

2. True or False? Giant turtles might have once fought giant snakes in the jungles of South America.

True! Carbonemys cofrinii was a giant turtle that lived in riverine tropical forests in South America about 60 million years ago. This turtle had very strong jaws that might have been capable of killing crocodiles and maybe helped it fight off larger animals like Titanoboa, the largest known snake. 

Titanoboa and Carbonemys cofrinii both lived in the same place at the same time. Both the giant snake and the giant turtle might have weighed approximately 2000 pounds (1000 kg) each. They were both predators. Did they ever fight each other? What if a Titanoboa tried to eat the Carbonemys cofrinii? It’s possible! Who would have won? We have to use our imaginations to answer that question.

3. True or False? To see giant flying, fire-breathing turtles you have to go to Japan.

In 1965 that was true when the movie Gamera, the Giant Monster was made in Japan as a rival film to the Godzilla series. Gamera is a giant turtle who can fly. Sometimes he attacks cities, but he also helps people.