(Caretta caretta)




Facts about this animal

The Loggerhead is a large, horny-shelled sea-turtle, with a low heart-shaped elongated carapace and a very large head. The size of a female is up to 110 cm (carapace length), but they are usually smaller. The colour of the carapace is red-brown, the plastron is yellowish. The extremities are flat, paddle-like flippers, each with two claws.

Loggerhead turtles live their entire lives in the ocean except for the nesting season when females emerge at night to make a nest for their eggs on sandy beaches. Once a female reaches an area on the beach that is away from the tides, she digs a hole by scooping sand with her rear flippers. She then deposits her ping pong ball-like eggs, and covers up the nest with sand, smoothing it out with her body to disguise the spot . The eggs incubate for approximately 45-60 days, dependent upon temperature and a variety of other factors. The 4.1-4.8 cm long hatchlings emerge from the nest, after days of digging their way up through the sand, and they make their way to the ocean. During this time the hatchlings are in danger from a wide array of predators. Once in the water, hatchlings swim out to the nearest floating mass of sargassum weed and spend the first portion of their lives there. The female turtle finds her way back to the same beach, year after year, to make a nest and lay eggs again.

Subadult and adult loggerheads primarily feed upon bottom dwelling invertebrates. Loggerheads sometimes scavenge fish or fish parts, but they usually do not catch live fishes.

Did you know?
that, in general, sea turtles do not come out onto land, except females when they nest? Most nest during the warmest months, returning to the same beaches year after year.


Name (Scientific) Caretta caretta
Name (English) Loggerhead
Name (French) Caouanne
Name (German) Unechte Karettschildkröte
Name (Spanish) Cayuma
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Appendix I Included in the MOU on Conservation Measures for Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa Included in IOSEA



Photo Copyright by
Mike Gonzalez



Range Global distribution throughout tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters
Habitat In the waters of coral and rocky reefs, seagrass beds and muddy bays, sometimes in the open ocean
Wild population The most recent reviews show that only two loggerhead nesting beaches have greater than 10,000 females nesting per year: South Florida (U.S.) and Masirah Island (Oman).In 2000, researchers tagged over 1,000 nesting females on just 5 km (3.1 mi) of beach on Boavista Island. Published and unpublished reports provide an estimate of about 4,000 nests per year in Brazil. Mediterranean ranges from about 3,300 to 7,000 nests per season (NOAA, 2012).
Zoo population 40 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 43 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by

Why do zoos keep this animal

The loggerhead is rated Endangered by IUCN, but keeping conditions in zoos and aquariums only rarely allow for breeding, i.e., usually, the ex situ populations do not directly contribute to the survival of the species. There are a few institutions, however, which breed loggerheads regularly for release to the wild programmes.

Loggerheads are, however, of interest as an example of the adaptation of the chelonians to the marine environment. It is also a good ambassador species for promoting marine conservation.

Occasionally, loggerheads are also kept fro animal welfare reasons, as zoos or aquariums may accept to care for itrapped animal which are unfit for being released to the wild again.