Loggerhead Sea Turtle

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is the most common sea turtle in Florida. The top shell of an adult loggerhead is reddish-brown while the scaly underside of the belly is yellow. The turtle is about 36 inches long and weighs up to 250 pounds. Its head is quite large for its size, giving the loggerhead turtle its name. The loggerhead also has thick jaws that it uses to crush clams, crabs, and the other shelled animals that it eats. Adult males have a long tail; the tail of the female is much shorter. All loggerheads have 4 strong flippers to propel them through the water and dig in the sand.

This turtle is seen throughout the world: as far north as Canada, in the USA and Mexico, the Pacific basin, Australia, and South America. Loggerheads like warm waters near coral reefs, bays, and estuaries. But this turtle is very much in danger from humans. It is at risk from polluted waters, oil spills, crashes with boats and other watercraft, garbage dumping in oceans, and the nets of the fishing industry.

Loggerheads mate from early March to late June in warm waters near open beaches. The female comes ashore at night and digs a nest in the sand with her flippers. She will lay up to 100 eggs at a time in the nest and then cover them with packed sand. The female then leaves the nest and returns to the water. The eggs are in danger from enemies who may dig them up as food, but some eggs will survive the 68 days (depending on temperature), they need to hatch. After breaking out of the shell, the young loggerheads crawl on the beach towards the water where they will be independent.

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