Let’s get involved in all these significant loggerhead turtle facts including loggerhead turtles diet, habitat, distribution, and reproduction. The loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), is an oceanic turtle that is widely distributed across the different continents of the world. These types of sea turtles are linked to the family of Cheloniidae. The adult loggerhead sea turtles can grow to a size of 90 cm (35 inches), with some species can be as long as 270 cm (110 inches). The loggerhead turtles weigh around 135 kg (300 lb) on an average. They have a typically reddish brown shell along with the yellow-brown skin color. There is no sizeable difference between the males and females except the females have slightly slender tails and longer plastrons as compared to the males.
These types of turtles inhabit all throughout the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans, with few species are also found in the Mediterranean Sea. Most of these sea turtles time is spent underwater. They have a slow reproductive rate with females lay only four eggs in the period of 2 – 3 years. They have an expected lifespan of about 47 – 67 years. They are exclusively omnivorous and are primarily known to consume invertebrate that are found at the base of the ocean. The loggerhead sea turtles are listed as endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). One of the major causes of the significant decline in their population is widespread fish hunting.
- The loggerhead turtle is a turtle with the largest hard-shell.
- The average weight of these species measure around 80 – 200 kg (180 – 440 lb).
- The loggerhead sea turtles measure around 70 – 95 cm (28 – 37 inches) by length.
- The heaviest loggerhead sea turtle ever recorded was 545 kg (1,200 lb), and the largest carapace was 213 cm (84 inches).
- They have pale yellow plastron together with the reddish-brown carapace.
- The females have shorter claws and tails in comparison to the adult males.
- Loggerhead sea turtles are known to be active during the daytime.
- The adult male sea turtles are more active divers as compared to the females.
- They spend more than 85% of their daily time underwater which is further divided into swimming and resting.
- On an average, loggerhead sea turtles have a diving duration of about 15 – 30 minutes, with the maximum time with which they can be submerged is 4 hours.
- The juveniles are more apt to bear lower temperatures as compared to the adult species.
- The female loggerhead sea turtles tend to be aggressive against each other possibly for their mating partner.
- These species are somewhat territorial animals.
Loggerhead sea turtles tend to spend most of their time in open shallow waters. They do not frequently come to the shore; however, females do come to the shore in order to visit their nests. The adult turtles inhabit in the coastal estuaries habitat. They are normally found in waters bearing the surface temperature of about 13.3 – 28o C (56 – 82o F) but the ideal temperature for these species is about 27 – 28o C especially for nesting females. These turtles have one of the most widespread geographical distributions across the sea waters of the world. In general, these sea turtles are known to reside in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean. Some of these species also live in the Mediterranean Sea. The largest concentration of these loggerhead turtles exists in the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern coast of North America. The small number of these individuals can be found in the African and European countries. One of the most famous nesting sites for loggerhead turtles is Florida where more than 67,000 nests are constructed each year. Some other places where they build their nests include Virginia, Brazil, and Cape Verde Islands. The second most nesting site of these invertebrates is in the Indian Ocean (Oman) where more than 15,000 nests are built. Apart from these places, there are around 1,000 – 2,000 nests built each year in the Western Australia.
Loggerhead sea turtles fancy their living in the moderate and tropical regions. Some of the foraging sites are East China Sea, Baja California peninsula, and southwest Pacific. Great barrier Reef is another noteworthy nesting site in the Eastern Japan and Australia. Although not regularly, Pacific loggerhead turtles also make their nests in Tokelau, Vanuatu, and Yakushima Island. A good many number of young loggerhead turtles can be found in the Mediterranean Sea with some adult species. It follows that more than 45% of these juveniles have been known to migrate from the Atlantic Ocean. They are typically found to feed in the Adriatic Sea and Alboran Sea. Another popular loggerhead nesting site lies in Greece where almost 3,000 nests are built each year.
What Do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Eat | Amazing Loggerhead Turtle Facts
Loggerhead sea turtles are omnivorous and they predominantly feed on several animals such as leafhoppers, beetles, flies, ants, aphids, fish eggs, dlphin fish, tuna, and amberjacks. Some of the common invertebrates that are found underneath the ocean are bivalves, decapods, and gastropods. Loggerhead sea turtles diet include corals, sea pens, cephalopods, sponges, sea anemones, polychaete worms, bryozoans, sand dollars, sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers, and fish eggs. Loggerhead sea turtles also feed on algae and other aquatic and vascular plants matter. Their claws are powerful enough to crush their prey.
In Australia, the most frequent predator of loggerhead sea turtles is red fox. Most of the loggerhead turtles are eaten in their initial stages. These predators include fly, beetles, oligochaete worms, flesh flies, ants, crabs, parasitoid wasp, gulls, opossums, rats, bears, canids, skunks, snakes, cats, pigs, beetles, corvids, mustelids, and procyonids. During migration, most of these turtles are hunted by snakes, lizards, crabs, toads, dipteran larvae, seabirds, parrotfish, moray eel, killer whales, sharks, and seals.
- These loggerhead sea turtles prepare themselves for reproduction in their foraging region.
- The females loggerhead turtles begin to reproduce at the age of 28 – 33 especially in Australia and Southeastern United States, while in South Africa the reproduction age is normally 17 – 30 years.
- The length of loggerhead turtles carapace measures around 70 – 109 cm (28 – 43 inches).
- The lifespan of loggerhead sea turtles is about 47 – 67 years in the wild.
- The mating period lasts for about one and a half months.
- The average size of a clutch contains 70 eggs and then the females do not reproduce for about 2 – 3 years.
- The period of nesting normally occurs in June and July.
- In the nesting season, females come back to lay eggs at intervals of 12 – 17 days.
Conservation Status | Loggerhead Turtle Facts
Humans are mainly responsible for the decline in the loggerhead turtles population. Once, these species were excessively hunted down for various commercial purposes such as to fulfill the requirements of meat and eggs. Native people fancy their diet by consuming large amounts of loggerhead turtles eggs. However, these eggs are not virtually required by our digestive system as they can lead to several diseases including Serratia marcescens and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
In the past, humans have hunted these species on a large scale with over 2,600 – 6,000 loggerhead turtles were killed in the Pacific in 2000. Besides, the large amount of waste products including unhygienic plastic bags, plastic sheets, balloons, and other discarded fishing line. These plastic bags were sometimes confused with the jellyfish or other foods which negatively affects their health.
Loggerhead Turtle Facts | Video