Loggerheads are widely distributed in coastal waters, mainly in subtropical and temperate regions and travel large distances following major warm currents like the Gulf Stream and California Current.
The loggerhead turtle is one of the largest cheloniid turtles, and carries more encrusting organisms such as barnacles on its carapace than other marine turtles species. This species is distinguished mainly by a large head and strong jaws.
The carapace (shell) is a reddish brown and the plastron (underbelly) is pale yellow.
The age of sexual maturity has been estimated at between 10 and 30 years but studies in Australia indicate that it may be between 34 and 37 years.
Females nest an average of 3 to 5 times per season. Between 40 and 190 eggs are laid per clutch. Data from the USA suggests that nesting takes place about every 2 years.
Loggerheads are carnivorous eating bottom dwelling molluscs (conches, clams), crabs, urchins and sponges, as well as free swimming jellyfish and seemingly impenetrable prey such as the queen conch.
Current Population and Distribution
A recent estimate of the numbers of nesting female loggerheads is more than 60,000.
Masirah Island, Oman appears to support the largest single nesting population, with a minimum of 30,000 females estimated to nest annually in the 1980s. The second most important region is the southeast USA, where 5,000 to 15,000 females nest annually, mainly in Florida.