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What Do You Know About Loggerhead Sea Turtles?


Loggerhead Sea Turtles

The loggerhead turtle gets its name from its big head, which houses strong jaw muscles that allow it to eat hard-shelled food like whelks and conch. The most common marine turtle that nests throughout the United States is the loggerhead. Although loggerhead turtles may be found in US coastal waters as juveniles and adults, many adults who nest on US beaches move from adjacent countries such as Cuba, Bahamas, and Mexico.


1. Range

The loggerhead sea turtle is a widely distributed species found in temperate tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian seas. The loggerhead turtle's territory in the Atlantic Ocean stretches from Newfoundland to Argentina. Loggerhead turtles have been seen as high north as Alaska or as far south as Chile in the eastern Pacific. In the United States, sightings have been recorded off the coastlines of Oregon on occasion, although the majority of sightings have been of juveniles from off coast of California. For young loggerhead turtles, the west coast of Mexico, particularly the Baja Peninsula, is essential for their growth. In the north Pacific, the only known breeding sites for loggerhead turtles are in southern Japan.


2. Diet

Crustaceans, fish, and other marine creatures are eaten by loggerhead turtles, which are carnivores. Small creatures live on the floating mats known as sargassum, where the hatchlings spend their early formative years. These young loggerheads start "recruiting" to coastal regions in the western Atlantic once they reach a certain point to become benthic feeders into the lagoons, bays, estuaries, river mouths, or shallow coastal waters. Whelks, various horseshoe crabs, mollusks, and sea urchins are among the invertebrates that juveniles & adults consume. Their jaws are strong enough to smash their prey. Before developing and undertaking their first reproductive migration, these juveniles spend a decade or more in coastal feeding areas.


3. Behavior

Many individuals have seen female loggerheads that seem to be crying. While it may seem that the turtle is unhappy, this is a unique adaption. Loggerhead turtles have salt glands behind their eyes, which enable them to consume seawater and expel the salt.


4. Reproduction

Mature loggerhead females sometimes travel hundreds of kilometers to return to the beach to deposit their eggs wherever they hatched. They can do so because of the earth's magnetic field, which loggerhead turtles utilize to navigate at sea. Each length of the shoreline has its unique magnetic signature, which these turtles recognize and utilize as navigational aids. Breeding takes place all year, although it peaks in the summer. Females with various partners may produce three to four clutches containing up to 130 eggs in such a season.


5. Threats to survival

In the United States, loggerhead sea turtles are the most frequent of all sea turtle species. However, ongoing population reductions caused by shrimp trawling, pollution, and development within their nesting sites, among other reasons, have placed this widespread seabird on the endangered species list since 1978. Fisheries are the most dangerous to the loggerhead turtle, often captured in fishing gear such as trawls and nets. Humans have slaughtered these turtles for years because of their flesh and skin, and ocean debris may hurt or kill them.


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