Loggerhead Turtle Finding a Place to Nap – The Elbow Key Largo – Video

Five species of endangered sea turtles are found throughout the marine waters of the Florida Keys, including the hawksbill, green turtle, Kemp’s Ridley, loggerhead, and leatherback.

 

Loggerhead turtles are the most abundant of all the marine turtle species in U.S. waters. But persistent population declines due to pollution, shrimp trawling, and development in their nesting areas, among other factors, have kept this wide-ranging seagoer on the threatened species list since 1978.

Loggerhead TurtleDescription: Head is very large with heavy strong jaws. Carapace is bony without ridges and has large, non-overlapping, rough scutes (scales) present with 5 lateral scute. Carapace is heart shaped. Front flippers are short and thick with 2 claws, while the rear flippers can have 2 or 3 claws. Carapace is a reddish-brown with a yellowish-brown plastron. Hatchlings have a dark-brown carapace with flippers pale brown on margins.

Size: Typically 2.5 to 3.5 feet in carapace length (80-110 cm).

Weight: Adult weigh between 155 and 375 pounds (70 -0 170 kg).

Diet: Primarily carnivorous and feed mostly on shellfish that live on the bottom of the ocean. They eat horseshoe crabs, clams, mussels, and other invertebrates. Their powerful jaw muscles help them to easily crush the shellfish.

Habitat: Prefer to feed in coastal bays and estuaries, as well as in the shallow water along the continental shelves of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Nesting: Nest at intervals of 2 to 4 years. They lay 3 to 6 nests per season, approximately 12 to 14 days apart. Lays average of between 100 to 126 eggs in each nest. Eggs incubate for about 60 days.

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