Sea turtle lovers will know that there are seven different species of sea turtle. And that past the green sea turtle and the hawksbill sea turtle, the others can be slightly more difficult to find. One of these more difficult sea turtle species is the loggerhead sea turtle.
With populations in the Mediterranean, Florida and Oman as well as other similar locations around the world, loggerhead sea turtles are heart shaped in the carapace and display a slightly reddish color.
Did you know that these marine creatures have poor eyesight out of the water? In fact, their open air eyesight could be compared to human eyesight under the water without a mask.
Read on to learn more curiosities and crucial info about these awesome but threatened marine animals.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The loggerhead sea turtle can reach 49 inches (124 cm) in length and a weight of 400 lbs (180 kg) in some locations. However, the Mediterranean population rarely exceeds 35 inches (90 cm) in length.
From hatchling to adult, a loggerhead increases its weight more than 6,000 times! For easy identification, note that the carapace of the loggerhead sea turtle is heart shaped and reddish brown with the plastron being white or yellow.
On the shell, which has a slight heart shape, you can usually find many species of sessile invertebrates, such as tunicates, sponges and barnacles.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle Facts
- Name: The loggerhead sea turtle owes its name to its large head (which grows up to 10 inches / 25 centimeters wide). The head is also equipped with two powerful jaws used to crush the shells of molluscs and crustaceans.
- Diet: The loggerhead is omnivorous. Its huge jaws allow it to feed primarily on shellfish on the bottom of the sea, including clams, crabs, mussels and more.
- Migration: There are actually 10 subpopulations of loggerheads around the world, varying in size and geographic range. Generally these sea turtles migrate for thousands miles from a foraging area to a breeding area and back again. For example, Pacific loggerheads migrate over 7,500 miles (12,000 km) between nesting beaches in Japan and feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico!
- Habitat: Loggerhead sea turtles live between the temperate and subtropical zones of the world. The highest deposition sites are on the island of Masirah (Oman) and on the east coast of Florida. Furthermore, these turtles occupy 3 different habitats during their life: water (sea and oceans), beaches (nesting areas) and nearshore coastal areas (before and after nesting as well as after hatching).
- Threats: At the first stage of their life, loggerhead sea turtles can be eaten by crabs, birds, dogs and fish. Once they become adults, their natural predators are sharks and killer whales, but the population is considered threatened and is decreasing due to human activities, including fishing, pollution, habitat degradation and direct harvest. A tool that can reduce their accidental fishing (bycatch) is the Turtle Excluder Device (TED), a grid of bars with an opening at the top or the bottom of the trawl net. The grid is fitted into the neck of a shrimp trawl.
- Current population trend: Decreasing.
- Conservation Status: Endangered.
Q&A About Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Where can I go diving and swimming with loggerhead sea turtles?
For this question, we have created a list of the 10 best places for diving and swimming with loggerhead sea turtles!
How many loggerhead sea turtles are still alive?
The total population size is unknown, but there are between 36,000 to 67,000 nesting females.
Will a loggerhead sea turtle nest more than once a year?
Females can nest 3 to 7 times in the same breeding season, and they breed every 1 to 7 years. Loggerheads reach sexual maturity between 20 and 30 years old.
How many eggs do loggerhead sea turtles deposit into one nest?
Each nest contains an average of 110 eggs. In one nesting season, a female can lay more than 35 lbs (16 kg) of eggs!
How long does it take for loggerhead sea turtle eggs to hatch?
Eggs hatch after 50-65 days. As with other sea turtles, very few of the babies survive and become adults. When they do reach adulthood, they can live more than 50 years.
How can I see a loggerhead sea turtle nesting or the babies heading to the ocean?
You have to go through serious, eco-friendly operators. Check out our top 10 list for more info.
Written by Mario Passoni with special thanks to Alessandra Sulis from Centro Recupero Tartarughe e Cetacei Laguna di Nora.