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Loggerhead Turtle Facts

Loggerhead Turtle Facts

Population of loggerhead turtles is declining due to pollution, destruction of their habitat and shrimp trawling. This article presents some interesting loggerhead turtle facts. Read on to know how to protect the species....
Leena Palande
Sea turtles or marine turtles belong to the families Cheloniidae/Dermochelyidae. Loggerhead turtles are present in large numbers in the oceans surrounding the U.S. If the question 'why are sea turtles endangered?' is lurking in your mind right now, here is some information that may help you find answer to the question.

Interesting Facts about Loggerhead Turtles
  • Caretta caretta gigas and caretta caretta are the two species of loggerhead sea turtles. As the name suggests, they have massive heads.
  • Caretta caretta gigas is common in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Caretta caretta can be noticed in marine waters surrounding Greek islands, southwestern Turkey and south Italy.
  • Loggerhead turtle facts inform us that loggerhead adults are about three feet long (nearly one meter in shell length) and weigh about 250 pounds (113 kilograms)!
  • These turtles have strong jaws and a reddish-brown shell (carapace). Loggerhead turtles weighing more than 1000 pounds (454 kg) have been found!
  • More and more people are fascinated by the idea of keeping turtles as pets. Loggerhead turtles are found in all types of waters, in river mouths, coastal lagoons, oceans, and tropical and temperate waters. But it seems that they prefer coastal habitat. Human beings are encroaching over sea coasts and thus destroying the loggerhead sea turtle habitat.
  • Female loggerheads travel over thousands of miles to lay their eggs. They return to the same beaches where they had hatched as babies. More studies are required to know about loggerhead turtle migration. In spite of being protected by laws, small turtles, (babies) as well as adults are attacked by human beings. Hatchlings (just 2 inches long) look very cute. A significant decrease in the nesting population has been noticed by scientists, continuously for the past few years.
  • What do turtles eat? Loggerheads are primarily carnivores. Loggerhead turtle diet consists of jellyfish, conchs, crabs, bottom dwelling invertebrates, seaweed, sargassum and even fish. With their powerful jaws, they can crush mollusks, crabs and encrusting animals hidden in reefs and rocks.
  • Studies show that March-June is the mating season of loggerheads and April to September is their nesting season. They nest at night and lay about 100 to 126 eggs. Here are some loggerhead turtle facts for kids: About 14,000 female loggerheads nest in the southeastern U.S, each year. Sex of the hatchling depends upon the temperature. Time taken by eggs to hatch varies according to the temperature. In colder climate, more time is required for hatching of eggs.
  • Eggs of loggerhead sea turtle may fall prey to hungry raccoons. Even wild pigs dig them up. It is so surprising that hatchlings find out the correct way up through the sand, towards the surface. They wait underneath the last layer (uppermost) of sand until nightfall and then scurry towards the ocean! They may fall prey to raccoons, crabs, birds and other predators in water like shark, during their journey towards deep ocean.
Sometimes, babies head towards the artificial light (human residential areas near the coast) instead of heading towards the sea. They perhaps consider it as setting sun's light. These babies die soon. Many times, when sea turtles come to the surface of the ocean for breathing, they get hit by boats. They also get tangled in fishing nets and drown. Different types of turtles are killed by human beings during trawling. Fishing nets should have turtle-exclude devices which allow the turtles to escape when caught.

Bringing home turtles for kids can prove to be harmful for health; as there is an increased risk of salmonella food poisoning with turtles freely roaming around. Human development in the turtle's nesting areas should be avoided. Loggerhead turtle species are placed under the threatened animals list; which means, if not protected, they are likely to become endangered species. It is our duty to protect these species in the sea as well as on the shore.