Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
The loggerhead, named for its large head, was listed as a threatened species in 1978 and is considered "vulnerable" by International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It is listed as endangered by the U.S. government. The carapace of a grown loggerhead turtle is a reddish-brown color, and the plastron is yellow. The average carapace length for an adult is 92cm (36 in) with a body mass of 113kg (250 lbs). Hatchling loggerheads vary from light to dark brown in color with white streaks on their flippers.
In the early or "lost" years of their life hatchlings join a drifting community and stay with this group until they grow to 40 -50 cm in carapace length. Then these young loggerheads move independently to find safety and food in shallow waters. The loggerheads' habitat can range from murky, muddy bays and bayous to crystal clear waters in the Bahamas. Young adults and adults eat mostly small invertebrates that are found at the bottom of the ocean. Although they aren't considered fish eaters, sometimes the turtles will eat left over fish parts.
Mating season for the loggerheads is from late March to early June. Females begin to nest in late April and don't finish until early September; the peak nesting season is during June and July. Nesting is always done at night. In the U.S., Florida makes up one third of the nesting sites in the world.
Threats to the loggerheads are the same as other sea turtles. Shrimping nets, plastic garbage, and any other objects that they can get tangled in prevents them from surfacing to get air. Oil and gas exploitation are particularly hazardous to loggerheads.