Loggerhead Sea Turtle

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta caretta, is the only member of the genus Caretta. It is prevalent in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. There is a subspecies that is also found in the Greek Islands and in the waters off southwestern Turkey. Loggerheads live most of their lives in open water. They may be found along the ocean floor or near the shore where they mainly forage.

The adult loggerhead can weigh as much as 200 pounds and can reach close to 40 inches in length. Most loggerheads that do reach adulthood may live for longer than 30 years and may also surpass 50 years. It has a large head with blunt, powerful jaws which they use to crush their food. They feed on mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and other marine animals.

As with other sea turtles females return to lay their eggs on or near the same beach where they hatched. Unlike other sea turtles, courtship and mating usually do not take place near the nesting beach, but rather along the migration routes between feeding and breeding grounds. Mating takes place from late March to early June. Clutches of 100 to 125 eggs are laid and each are about the size and shape of a ping pong ball. The mother usually will not nest again for two to three years.

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is protected internationally due to extensive hunting of the animal for its meat and eggs. However, today the turtle still faces peril by being caught in fishing nets. Also some fall victim to being struck by passing boat propellers or eating fish hooks. Their nesting grounds are monitored closely and protected from intrusion by different international animal protection organizations.