The Loggerhead sea turtle has an insanely mammoth head. Hence the name. The crazy thing is, there is even more to this magnificent creature than just that!
Living up to 50 years of age, the loggerhead sea turtle is the most common sea turtle found off and around the coastal waters of the United States.
These turtles have the name “Loggerhead” because of their exceptionally large, mammoth heads.
And they also possess very powerful jaws that enable them to munch on various crustaceans for food.
Common Name: Loggerhead
Size & Weight: 90cm / 115 kg
Type of Eater: Carnivore
Distribution: Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans
Unique Features: Named for its exceptionally large head
The main cause of their dwindling numbers has been the destruction of their natural nesting areas. Much of this is due to:
- Coastal development.
- Invasive species and humans.
- Fishing nets.
Unfortunately, there are only around 40 to 50,000 nesting females remaining in the world today. Due to this, the loggerhead has been listed as a threatened species since July 28th, 1978 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
When it comes to identifying these sizeable creatures, it is quite easy.
They are hard-shelled sea turtles and do not have any keels or ridges along the outside of the shell. Often their shell has a rather large ridge that cuts it in half diagonally.
A loggerhead’s shell is shaped more like a heart than an oval or dome. Extremely powerful bones hold together their immense bones and shell, which is divided into scutes. Scutes are simply shell scales made of keratin. This is the same substance that makes up your fingernail.
Their skin is light and covered in brownish spots. These colors look a little bit like colored scales on the tops of their heads, flippers, and rear legs. Their shell is separated into 2 parts:
- A darker-colored brown that gives most of the color.
- A deep-black that separates their scutes.
They have very powerful jaws and possess a sort of ‘bird-like’ beak that allows them to easily puncture and pierce the shell of their prey. As noted before, loggerheads have rather large heads, with heavy, strong jaws.
Loggerheads can usually be found in the estuaries, coastal bays and shallow water along the shelves of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
You can find these turtles as far north as southern Canada and as far south as Argentina, but they prefer warmer, temperate and more tropical waters.
They prefer to nest on sloppy, smooth sanded beaches every two to four years. And speaking of eggs, they are able to lay eggs from 3 to 6 times every season.
They lay more eggs on average than their larger cousins, the leatherback, laying from 100 to 125 eggs at a time.
Loggerheads’ powerful jaws allow them to munch on their favorite source of food, shellfish, rather easily.
Whey they are hungry they will dive down and forage along the bottom of the ocean, looking for crabs, clams, mussels, and other invertebrates to munch on.
Most of what is known about loggerheads is through observation that occurs during nesting on beaches and through electrical tagging, which allows scientists to follow and track their movements across the oceans.