Species: Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The sex of baby loggerheads is determined by temperature.
The loggerhead is one of the most widespread of all the marine turtles and also the most highly migratory, with individuals known to cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This turtle’s common name comes from its relatively large head, which contains powerful jaws. Adults are primarily carnivorous, using their powerful jaws to crack open crustaceans such as crabs and even seemingly impenetrable molluscs such as the queen conch and species of giant clam. Loggerheads may reach sexual maturity at around 35 years old, and females appear to nest an average of three to five times in one breeding season, returning to breed every couple of years. Nesting occurs at night throughout the summer, when females drag themselves out onto beaches beyond the high-tide mark and dig nests into which around 100 eggs are laid.
Climate Change: The gender of hatchling loggerhead turtles is determined by temperature, so an increase in global temperature could lead to a skew in the sex ratio of turtles. Rising sea levels caused by climate change are another potential threat, resulting in the loss of turtle nests through flooding.
For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author