Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Loggerhead Caretta caretta


enlarge +

credit: Bachrach44

All Images

5 articles:

Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Family: Cheloniidae, Sea Turtles view all from this family

Description Largest aquatic turtle. Carapace has 8-12 scutes. Plastron whitish/yellow with 8 scutes. Brownish-tan with mottling. Males have longer tails. Flipper-like limbs.

Dimensions 79-122cm. (31-48")

Endangered Status The Loggerhead is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Development of beaches and coastal islands has destroyed many of its nesting sites. Hatchlings, normally attracted to light reflected off the ocean, are sometimes confused by artificial highway lights and crawl toward them, and many are accidentally killed. In the past, many Loggerheads drowned in shrimp nets, but the introduction of turtle excluder devices, which allow them to escape from the nets, have reduced this threat significantly.

Breeding Breeds along Gulf coast. Lays eggs May-August. Females come ashore at night during high tide to lay eggs. 125 eggs in a clutch, laid in a cavity dug on the beach. Incubated for 7-9 weeks.

Habitat Open seas, estuaries, coastal waters and lagoons.

Range Warm Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Discussion Largest aquatic sea turtle. Weighs between 80-200kg (180-440lbs). Numbers have been reduced recently. Diet includes sponges, crustaceans, aquatic plants and sea urchins. In a fight if tail is curled it will submit. Female-female aggression rarely occurs. Travels thousands of miles to return to its birthplace to breed.