Loggerhead sea turtle

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Caretta caretta

DID YOU KNOW?

Females often return to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Maryland Mountains to the Sea

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Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Named for their large heads, loggerheads have strong jaws that enable them to feed on hard-shelled prey. One of eight types of sea turtle, they have a reddish-brown carapace and a yellowish bottom shell. Though there are many challenges to their longevity, such as entanglement in fishing gear, plastic ingestion, and habitat destruction, loggerheads can live more than 50 years.

Loggerheads are among the largest of the hard-shelled turtles—leatherbacks are bigger but have soft shells.

Diet

Loggerheads have strong jaws and eat whatever is available, including fish, jellyfish, mollusks, crabs, horseshoe crabs, sponges, corals, and some seaweed.

Size

Adult males can reach about three feet in shell length and weigh about 250 pounds, though large specimens (as high as 1,000 pounds!) have been found. Hatchlings start at just 2 inches in length.

Range

Loggerheads can be found worldwide in all but the coldest waters in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. They live in the open water or in coastal areas, and can swim at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. This species does not generally come on land, though females will come ashore to lay eggs.

Population Status

This species has been on the threatened list since 1978.

Predators

Young loggerheads are at risk of predation, particularly the eggs. Once the turtles reach adulthood, however, their size protects them from predation from most large marine animals.

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A Note From the Caretaker

Our loggerhead sea turtle is part of a rehabilitation program. Hatchlings that normally would not have survived are brought to the Aquarium and rehabilitated. Our turtle will be released when it reaches approximately 4 kilograms and be fitted with a satellite tag so its movements can be tracked and studied.

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