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Loggerhead Sea Turtle

on July 31, 2007; last updated July 31, 2007
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The lungs of the loggerhead sea turtle are adapted to permit a rapid exchange of oxygen and to prevent gasses from being trapped during deep dives. The blood of sea turtles can deliver oxygen efficiently to body tissues even at the pressures encountered during diving. During routine activity a loggerhead sea turtle dives for about 4 to 5 minutes and surfaces to breathe for 1 to 3 seconds. Sea turtles can rest or sleep underwater for several hours at a time.


  • The loggerhead turtle is known for its large head and horny beak.
  • It also has large jaws and powerful muscles.
  • Most loggerhead sea turtles have a reddish brown carapace and a pale yellow plastron (bottom shell).

Fun Facts

  • The loggerhead turtle was greatly hunted at one time for its fat, which was used in cosmetics and some medication.
  • This is the most abundant sea turtle species in US coastal waters. Most nesting in the US occurs from North Carolina to southwest Florida.
  • The temperature of the nest determines whether the eggs will produce males or females. A cooler nest, below 82.5°F (28°C), will produce more males, and a warmer nest, above 85.1°F (29.5°C), will result in more females. If the nest temperature stays in between, there will be a more balanced number of males and females.

CLASS: Reptilia (reptiles)

ORDER: Testudines (tortoises and turtles)

FAMILY: Cheloniidae (sea turtles)

GENUS/SPECIES: Caretta caretta gigas and C. caretta caretta

(Pacific and Indian loggerheads) and (Atlantic loggerhead)

Size: Average 3 ft (1 m)

Weight: About 250 lbs (113 kg)

Diet: Fish, crustaceans, zooplankton, and invertebrates

Habitat: Circumglobal in temperate and tropical seas

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