Loggerhead Turtles are found in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea. Within these waters, they’re found in the subtropical and temperate regions. These turtles have a heart-shaped shell that is reddish-brown in color. Their necks and flippers are of a similar color on the top. The bottoms of their bodies are a lighter color.1
Loggerhead Turtles are about 33-48 inches in length and weigh 175-400 pounds. They get their name from their large heads and extremely strong jaw muscles. Within the Mediterranean, they’re the most common turtle.2
These turtles play an integral role in their environment. They maintain links between ecosystems and help keep coral reefs and sea grasses healthy. They also are responsible for recycling nutrients and ensuring that sediments on the ocean floor stay in balance.2
They are considered vulnerable and are protected by the Endangered Species Act.1&2 They face several threats from:
- Fishing gear – they can easily get trapped in fishing gear and die
- Tourism – people spending more time on their nesting beaches interferes with their ability to nest and keep offspring safe2
- Pollution – when plastic ends up in the ocean, it can be mistaken for food by these turtles. They’ll eat it instead of their real prey, like horseshoe crabs or mollusks.1
There are ways to help these turtles, however. By changing the gear fishermen use, they can save turtles from being caught up in everything. They can use what are called TEDs, turtle excluder devices, to make it safer for turtles.1 Using different fishing hooks can also help – circle hooks are more turtle friendly and can avoid harming them by accident.2
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