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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Caretta caretta

After the leatherback turtle, the loggerhead sea turtle is the second-largest marine turtle. It has a blunt head, powerful jaws, and a steeply domed carapace. It hunts and eats hard-bodied animals, such as crabs, lobsters, and clams. This species takes about 30 years to mature and breeds every other year.

Threats to Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Loggerhead sea turtles are currently listed as being threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Act. Their numbers are rapidly declining. Loggerhead sea turtles, like other sea turtle species, face many natural and human-induced threats. Scientists have determined that the capture in fishing gear and the loss of nesting habitat are major causes of the loggerhead's decline.

Tens of thousands of loggerhead sea turtles are injured or killed annually in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico by destructive fishing gear, including trawls, gillnets and longlines. Loggerheads are also captured and killed by commercial fisheries using vertical lines, seines, dredges and various types of pots and traps.

In the Atlantic Ocean, the majority of loggerhead nesting occurs along the southeastern United States, but loggerheads also nest in the eastern Atlantic and western South Atlantic. All of the loggerhead nesting populations in the Atlantic with trend data available are experiencing significant declines. The largest decline was experienced by the South Florida nesting population, which declined 40 percent in the past decade.

What Oceana Does to Protect Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Oceana's campaign to save sea turtles is dedicated to the protection and restoration of sea turtle populations in the world's oceans. The campaign works to reduce sea turtle bycatch in fisheries, protect sea turtle habitat and develop legislation to protect sea turtles.

Loggerhead Sea Turtlezoom image
Loggerhead Sea Turtlezoom image
Loggerhead Sea Turtlezoom image
Loggerhead Sea Turtlezoom image
  • Order Chelonia
  • Length 2–3 ft (0.7–1 m)
  • Weight 165–350 lb (75–160 kg)
  • Habitat Open sea, coral reefs, coasts
  • Distribution Tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide
Loggerhead Sea Turtle habitat mapzoom image