Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Caretta caretta

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Cheloniidae

Species Description

Adult Weight: 113 - 181 kgs (250 - 400 lbs)
Adult Size: 1 - 1.1 m (3 - 3.5 ft)
Appearance: Broad head with yellow cheeks, red-brown, heart-shaped carapace
Diet: Mostly hard-shelled invertebrates, including crabs, mollusks and shrimp, but also jellyfish

Natural Lifespan: 50 years
Age at Sexual Maturity: 20 years
Average Clutch Size: 100 - 125 eggs
Average Clutches per Season: 2 - 6 clutches
Nest Incubation Period: 60 days 
Remigration Interval: 2 - 4 years

Life Cycle


Geographic Range: Mostly found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, venturing into temperate waters to forage.

Marine Habitat Use: Pelagic (especially juveniles) and rocky coastal bays, estuaries and lagoons. Loggerheads spend most of their time within the top 5 m (16.4 ft) of the water column, where they have been observed feeding on jellyfish. Loggerheads also dive below the thermocline for up to 30 minutes at a time to feed on shellfish before returning to warmer surface waters to thermoregulate.


Due to their extensive range, loggerheads have benefited from protections, resulting in a decrease in the direct consumption of adult loggerheads and eggs. These include the SPAW (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife) Protocol to the Cartagena Convention (a protocol concerning specially protected areas and wildlife), CITES Agreement (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Fisheries bycatch and ship strikes are primary threats to loggerheads in marine environments. The use of Turtle Excluder Devices on bottom trawlers is improving the odds for loggerheads in the East Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. Additional monitoring at sea, and targeted partnerships with fishing stakeholders in geographic areas where loggerheads face the highest risks, could further improve conservation outcomes for this species.

A 940 ml (31.8 oz) beer is often referred to as a caguama (loggerhead) in Mexico.

Fun Fact