Gonna need a bigger crane: Enormous turtle found on Spanish beach (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Video footage shows an excavator being used to remove the huge creature.
This is the second such find within a month on the Catalan coast, according to La Vanguardia.
In August fishermen came across a leatherback, also known as a lute turtle, tangled in their nets. Authorities say the species, which can weigh up to 700kg (1,500lb), is rare in Catalonia.
Department of Agriculture officials said this particular creature was in an advanced state of decomposition, reports Radio Calella.
The ‘Dermochelys coriacea’ are primarily found in the open ocean, as far north as Alaska and as far south as the southern tip of Africa. Their recent sightings in the Mediterranean are surprising, biologists said, as no more than 10 have been spotted in the area in 2,000 years.
Recent satellite tracking research indicates that leatherbacks feed in areas just offshore, according to Sea Turtle Conservancy. Pere Alzina, a local biologist, said it would be a great surprise if they found a nesting area for leatherback turtles in the Mediterranean.
The turtle has been transferred to the Veterinary Faculty of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) for an autopsy.
Meanwhile, a leatherback turtle also washed up dead on a beach in Wales earlier this week, according to the BBC.
Marine Environmental Monitoring (MEM) said about 10 leatherback turtles had washed ashore on UK beaches in the last two months, most of them dead.
The leatherback turtle is listed as endangered under the US Federal Endangered Species Act and marked vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 2013.