In this post, we’ll learn some of the amazing loggerhead sea turtle facts for kids including its physical description, diet, lifespan, habitat and much more. Among hard-shelled turtles, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) is arguably the largest turtle in the world. Besides, after leatherback, it is also the second-largest turtle that is alive today. Even though leatherbacks are bigger than loggerheads, yet leatherback sea turtles do not have hard bony carapace (or shell). Loggerhead marine turtles are named for their exceptionally large heads. All things considered, loggerhead turtles are closest cousins of olive Ridley, Kemp’s Ridley and hawksbill sea turtles. Now let’s discover all about loggerhead sea turtles and learn more interesting facts about loggerheads!
Loggerhead Sea Turtle Facts For Kids
What Does A Loggerhead Sea Turtle Look Like?
- The upper body of loggerhead (head and carapace) is reddish-brown in color.
- The carapace of these turtles is shaped somewhat like a heart.
- The under belly (known as plastron) of loggerhead turtle is pale yellow in color.
- Loggerhead turtle looks reddish-brown on top of its head, neck and flippers. However, the turtle is pale-yellowish from below and along the edges.
- Unlike adult loggerheads, the flippers of hatchlings are grayish-brown in color. In the same way, the underbelly (or plastron) of hatchlings is also different and it appears like golden-brown.
- Generally, the carapace of a turtle have large plates called scutes. Loggerheads have five large vertebral scutes (or scales) at the middle of their shell.
- The shell of loggerhead lacks ridges.
- There are two claws on the front flippers of these turtles. However, the back flippers may have 3 claws. The front flippers are thick and short.
- The head of loggerhead turtle is very large and it possesses strong jaws.
How Big Do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Get?
- Normally, the length range of an adult loggerhead is 70 to 95 centimeters.
- The maximum length of the carapace (or shell) of loggerhead is reported to be 213 centimeters.
- A hatchling of loggerhead turtle is about 4 centimeters in length.
How Much Does A Loggerhead Sea Turtle Weigh?
- The adult male loggerhead can weigh around 250 pounds.
- However, loggerhead sea turtles weighing more than 1,000 pounds are also known.
- On average, loggerheads weigh within a normal range of 180 to 400 pounds.
- The maximum weight ever recorded of a loggerhead sea turtle is 1,202 pounds.
- The hatchling of a loggerhead turtle weighs 20 grams.
How Long Do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Live?
Loggerhead sea turtle has an average lifespan of more than 50 years.
How Many Eggs Do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Lay?
- In one season, loggerheads lay around 3 to 6 nests.
- There is normally a gap of 12 to 14 days between each nesting.
- Each clutch size contains about 100 to 126 eggs.
- After laying around 4 clutches on average, the female loggerhead does not lay eggs for about 2 to 3 years.
When Do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Hatch?
- The eggs of these marine turtles are hatched after about 60 to 80 days.
- Loggerheads reach maturity at 17 to 33 years of age.
- The female loggerhead reproduces hatchlings after every 2 to 3 years.
- To the north, the mating season of these turtles is between March and early June.
What Do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Eat?
- Loggerhead sea turtles are predominantly carnivorous marine turtles.
- Generally, however, loggerhead turtles are omnivorous species.
- They prefer to feed on bottom-dwelling fish, mainly shellfish.
- Apart from this, loggerheads tend to eat mussels, horseshoe crabs, clams and invertebrates.
- By means of their powerful jaw muscles, loggerheads are able to crush hard-shelled prey like shellfish.
- Loggerhead turtles feed on invertebrates including decapods, gastropods and bivalves.
- Loggerheads may also rarely eat sargassum and seaweed.
- In addition to these, the loggerhead sea turtle diet also includes following:
- Sea urchins
- Polychaete worms
- Sea cucumbers
- Sea anemones
Where Do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Live?
- Loggerheads mainly feed on nearshore coastal areas, shallow bays and estuaries. They spend a better part of their lives in saltwater habitats.
- These marine turtles occupy shallow waters of the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
- They are also found in the Mediterranean Sea.
- The southeastern part of northern United States and the Gulf of Mexico, are the only two regions of the Atlantic Ocean where these turtles exist in greatest numbers.
- The most famous nesting beach of loggerheads is perhaps in Florida. According to an estimate, loggerheads build here at least 67,000 nests every year.
- In the waters of the United States, these turtles are the most abundant of all sea turtles.
Why Are Loggerhead Sea Turtles Endangered?
- Some of the most important threats that may endanger the survival of loggerheads are housing developments in coastal areas, artificial lights and attack on the nests.
- In addition to these, some other threats to loggerheads include:
- Marine pollution
- Incidental capture by fishing gear like shrimp trawls and longlines
What Eats Loggerhead Sea Turtles?
Loggerhead sea turtles have quite a lot of predators. Some of the predators that feed on the nestlings and eggs of these marine turtles are:
The predators for the hatchlings of loggerheads are:
Some of the predators for the juveniles of these turtles include:
- Portunid crabs
- Moray eels
How Many Loggerhead Sea Turtles Are Left?
The estimated population of female loggerheads are between 40,000 and 50,000.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle Facts for Kids – Video
“Loggerhead turtle”. NOAA Fisheries
“Information about Sea Turtles: Loggerhead Sea Turtle”. Sea Turtle Conservancy