Sheldon came to the Aquarium last November as part of the Loggerhead Head Start Program. The National Aquarium is one of several aquariums across the country that participates in the program, which works to rescue and rehabilitate imperiled loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings!
By caring for Sheldon here in Baltimore, the Aquarium gave the little loggerhead the time he needed to gain strength and grow before taking on life in the ocean. In his time here, Sheldon has grown 6 inches and has gained 3 pounds.
Loggerhead turtles like Sheldon can weigh less than an ounce and measure less than 2 inches when they hatch in sandy nests along temperate coastlines around the globe. They are vulnerable to a variety of predators, as they make their way to the sea and begin their lives in the water. If they survive their first year, loggerheads can grow to be the largest of all hard-shelled turtles, averaging 3 feet in length and weighing about 250 pounds.
Sheldon’s survival is not just a boon to the loggerhead population. Loggerheads and other sea turtles are a crucial link in marine ecosystems and are essential to maintaining the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs.
Stay tuned for more updates on Sheldon’s release!