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Loggerhead turtle

Caretta caretta.

Loggerhead turtle

The conservation status of the Loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta is:

  • Nature Conservation Act 1992: Endangered
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999: Endangered
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Endangered

General information

Adult sizes vary from one geographic area to another. Here in the western Pacific an adult loggerhead turtle can reach 150kg.

Loggerheads can be found in the world's three major ocean basins, the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific as well as the Mediterranean Sea, mostly within an ocean temperature range of 16-20'C. Here in the western Pacific there is an estimated 1200 nesting females, with 500 of those occurring on the Queensland coast and around 700 in Japan. In the eastern Pacific thousands of loggerheads live in the Gulf of California but none of them nest there.

Loggerheads lay between 95-150 eggs, depending on which geographic region they belong to. In Australia the average clutch size is 127 eggs although this can vary considerably between individual nests.  Females nesting on the Sunshine Coast usually nest at intervals of 10-14 days and incubation can vary from 56-90 days, although in an average summer it is usually around 63 days.

Australian loggerheads eat clams, saucer scallops and a variety of sea anemones, crabs and jellyfish.  In Moreton Bay they will sometimes use their flippers to make 1.5m wide trenches to expose burrowing molluscs.

Further reading

Environmental Protection Agency

Gulko, D & Eckert, K, 2004, Sea Turtles: An ecological guide, Mutual Publishing, USA

Spotila, James A, 2004, Sea Turtles: A complete guide to their behaviour, biology and conservation, The Johns Hopkins University Press, USA.