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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

  • loggerhead.jpg
    A loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta.
    Photo by Dennis Liberson.
  • Loggerhead Release
    Loggerhead Release
    Graduate student Kate Mansfield and a team of researchers from VIMS and the Army Corps of Engineers release two rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtles into Chesapeake Bay. Mansfield will track the pair using satellite tags.
    Photo by David Malmquist.
  • Tagged Loggerhead
    Tagged Loggerhead
    Outfitted with a satellite tag, this loggerhead sea turtle returns to the water.
    Photo by Erin Seeney.

Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) are the most common sea turtle in Chesapeake Bay and the most abundant in U.S. waters. Loggerheads are listed as “threatened” in US waters. Mainly juveniles are found here, foraging on blue crab, horseshoe crab, whelk, fishes, and sea grasses. The average length of loggerheads in  Virginia waters is ~ 70 cm (28 in.)

Status

"Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (1973)

Size

Adults 84 -102 cm (33 - 40 in) long, 150 - 400 pounds

Sexual maturity

20-30 years

Nesting Habitat

Warm temperate or subtropical beaches, open beach

Juvenile Habitat

Chesapeake Bay, North Carolina sounds, Mediterranean

Diet

Blue/horseshoe crabs, whelk, fish, sea grasses