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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Loggerhead Sea Turtle: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Loggerhead turtle facts are interesting to read.

Do you know why these fascinating sea turtles are called loggerheads? It is because of their massive heads and powerful jaws. These turtles are commonly found in the coastal waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. An adult loggerhead is known to migrate towards the nesting beaches during the breeding season in order to nest. They are abundantly found in U.S beaches and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the Greater Antilles, and the Bahamas.

These turtles, like most sea turtles, face serious threats and are therefore listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This is happening mainly due to the loss of their nesting habitats. Coastal development, human disturbance, and turtle nest theft all contribute to the destruction of hatchlings after they hatch from the eggs. Another major reason is their accidental capture by fisheries.

The nesting females build three to five nests per breeding season and lay 110-130 eggs in each of them. The young ones are incubated on their own and they travel towards the ocean after emerging from the eggs, with the help of ocean currents.

These sea creatures have a long life and live approximately 70-80 years in the wild! For more intriguing facts about this stunning animal, keep reading.

For more relatable content, check out these sea turtle facts and spiny soft-shell turtle facts for kids.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a loggerhead sea turtle?

Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is a type of sea turtle from the Cheloniidae family.

What class of animal does a loggerhead sea turtle belong to?

Loggerhead turtles (scientific name- Caretta caretta) are members of the Reptilia class and the Testudines order.

How many loggerhead sea turtles are there in the world?

The loggerhead turtle populations are yet to be ascertained. However, according to a recent survey, there are more than 60,000 nesting females.

Where does a loggerhead sea turtle live?

Loggerhead turtles reside in the temperate and subtropical climate of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They stretch from Argentina to Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean, Chile to Alaska and Japan to Australia in the Pacific Ocean, and south of Africa to the Gulf of Arabia, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. These are abundantly found in the United States where the nesting sites range from North Carolina beaches to the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, and southern Virginia. Sometimes, they are spotted near the beaches of Oregon and Washington with the young ones being the majority on the California coast.

What is a loggerhead sea turtle's habitat?

Loggerhead sea turtles are migratory sea turtles who thrive in a vast temperate and subtropical habitat of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. The adults usually reside in the deep coastal waters but also spotted around shallow areas like beaches, coral reefs, lagoons, marshlands, and creeks. Apart from this, they are also found near barrier islands and ocean beaches. The nesting areas are frequently found on the beaches, between the high tide line and the sand dunes, or in sandy estuaries. Therefore, the adult female loggerheads lay their eggs by traveling towards the beaches. After hatching from the eggs in the nests, the hatchlings travel from the beaches to the ocean with the help of the ocean current.

Who do loggerhead sea turtles live with?

Loggerhead turtles are typically solitary in nature. However, they come into contact with other adult sea turtles during the mating season.

How long does a loggerhead sea turtle live?

The lifespan of loggerhead turtles is estimated to be between 70 and 80 years in the wild. However, not much information has been derived about the lifespan of these turtles in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of loggerheads is throughout the year but primarily during the summer, from the end of March to the beginning of June. During this time, the adult males swim towards the breeding grounds located at a distance from the nesting area near the beach. When they find the females, they tend to bite her shoulder as a courtship gesture. The females may mate with multiple male loggerheads in a particular nesting season. The nesting females may build three to five turtle nests per breeding season, each with a two-week interval between them. Each nest contains 110-130 eggs from several mates. They usually establish their nests on a steep and rough beach. The nesting females dig the coarse sand and bury the eggs under it where they are incubated for around 45-80 days. Loggerheads become sexually mature roughly around 35 years of age.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, loggerhead turtles are listed as Vulnerable, just like any other sea turtle. They are also listed as threatened under the U.S Endangered Species Act.

Various national, as well as international laws and treaties, are formed for the conservation of a loggerhead turtle. Regular surveys of these endangered animals are being done by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. Changes in fishing methods, as well as complete restriction of fishing in few areas during the nesting season, are some of the various actions taken for loggerhead turtle protection.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Fun Facts

What do loggerhead sea turtles look like?

Loggerheads have carapaces that are reddish-brown in color.

The loggerheads are the world's largest hard-shelled sea turtles with a huge head and extremely powerful jaw muscles. An adult loggerhead has a heart-shaped outer shell, also known as carapace which is reddish-brown in color and has five pleural scutes. Their front flippers have two claws and are short in size but they help them to swim in the water while their hind flippers have two or three claws.

A young loggerhead has a greyish or brownish shell and a light yellow stomach. Their flippers are dark brown in color with distinct white borders.

How cute are they?

Loggerhead turtles are very cute and charismatic, but not as cute as painted turtles. These turtles are very important for the marine ecosystem.

How do they communicate?

There is not much information about the communication of this marine animal. These turtles, on the other hand, are said to have exceptional senses. With the help of the moonlight and the elevation of the shore, the hatchlings can embark on their journey towards the ocean. They use their strong visual and olfactory senses to track down their prey. They use magnetic and chemical cues to navigate.

How big is a loggerhead sea turtle?

These turtle species are considered to be the largest hard-shelled turtles with a size of 2.5-3.5 ft (60-110 cm). It is almost three times the size of a crown-of-thorns starfish (10-14 in), another marine creature.

How fast can a loggerhead sea turtle move?

The exact speed of loggerhead sea turtles is not known. However, like any other sea turtles, it is assumed that they cannot swim rapidly. Their usual speed is between 0.9-5.8 mph (1.4-9.3 kph) although if they feel any threats, they might accelerate their speed up to 22 mph (35 kph).

How much does a loggerhead sea turtle weigh?

The weight of loggerhead turtles can range between 155-375 lb (70-170 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female loggerhead turtles do not have any specific names. They are simply called male loggerheads and female loggerhead turtles.

What would you call a baby loggerhead sea turtle?

Baby loggerhead turtles, like all other turtle species, are called hatchlings.

What do they eat?

Loggerheads are usually carnivorous in nature devouring on jellyfish, shrimp, fish, crustaceans, and other sea animals. They have powerful jaw muscles that allow them to quickly smash hard-shelled prey such as horseshoe crabs, conch, and whelks. However, they are known to occasionally feed on algae and certain marine plants.

Are they dangerous?

Loggerhead turtles are not known to pose any threat to humans. However, if they feel threatened, they may use their powerful jaws and pointy beaks to bite you. This could result in excruciatingly painful bruising or broken bones.

Would they make a good pet?

No, sea turtles are protected by law and it is not legal to keep them as pets. Therefore, these threatened species should belong in the ocean, their natural habitat.

Did you know...

The migratory loggerhead turtle can travel up to 3000 miles (4828 km). To avoid the cold waters throughout the winter, they move from temperate to tropical waters. These species frequently die if the water temperature falls below 41°F (5°C).

There are instances when people have reported that they have seen these turtles cry for their babies! Well, this is not true. They have salt glands near their eyes due to their coastal habitat because of which they can drink seawater and exude the extra salt from these glands. This gives the impression that they are crying.

Another remarkable characteristic is how these species can hold their breath for a significant amount of time. They can stay beneath the water for a minimum of four to five minutes which can extend up to 20 minutes. They can also sleep for hours without breathing without any difficulty.

A fascinating fact about these animals is how they remember their nesting beaches. The adult loggerheads come back to the same beach where they were born with the help of the invisible magnetic force of Earth.

Just like any other turtles, loggerheads can also not survive without their shells. This is because these hard shells are made up of bones and skin. They also consist of nerve endings and therefore a turtle will die if you attempt to remove its shell.

Loggerhead sea turtles have the hardest shells.

Why is the loggerhead sea turtle endangered?

These turtle populations are rapidly diminishing due to the loss of their nesting sites. This occurs as a result of coastal development, human intervention, and turtle nest theft that destroy the hatchlings after they emerge from the eggs. These turtles also face accidental capture in the marine fisheries. Climate change is also responsible for the increase in water levels causing adverse weather conditions which can be another reason for the massive decline of these turtles. Humans have also been hunting these gentle turtles for their skin and meat for years, wreaking havoc on their numbers. For all these reasons, these turtles are threatened since 1978 under the Endangered species act despite having a wide habitat.

Apart from these, water pollution is also one of the most common threats faced by almost all marine species. Sometimes, these species mistake plastic bags, fishing gear, oil from ships, and other plastic materials which are floating on the surface of the coastal water bodies, as food and choke on them.

Why is the loggerhead sea turtle important?

Loggerhead turtles are an essential part of a healthy marine ecosystem. During the loggerhead nesting season, several species such as birds, carnivores fish, and raccoons feed on hatchlings. The nutrients received by the nesting beach from the eggs and hatchlings that do not survive are also significant. One of their most important contributions is the way they consume their hard-shelled prey to maintain the balance in ocean floor deposits. Many species like algae and barnacles survive on the strong shells of these sea turtles. They are also a popular tourist attraction for those who enjoy snorkeling in the ocean. Since they are commonly found along with the coastal areas of the United States, they are frequently employed in sea turtle studies.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our brown tree snake facts and golden tree snake facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable sea turtle coloring pages.

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