Loggerhead Turtle: Caretta caretta
Named for its massive block-like head, the loggerhead is Florida’s most common sea turtle. Adults weigh 275 pounds on average with a shell about one yard long. Its shell, ruddy brown on top and creamy yellow underneath, is very broad near the head and tapers toward the rear. Each flipper has two claws. Adult males have longer tails than females.
Florida’s sandy Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico beaches host one of the largest loggerhead nesting aggregations in the world. Females return to their nesting beach every two or more years to lay four to seven nests, one about every 14 days. Each nest contains about 100-126 eggs that incubate about 60 days.
The loggerhead’s powerful jaws allow it to easily crush and eat clams, crabs and other armored animals. It is a slow swimmer that may become prey for sharks. A loggerhead tagged in Melbourne Beach, Florida showed up about 400 miles and 11 days later in Cuba, demonstrating this species’ great stamina.
Loggerhead nesting in Florida: http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/nesting/loggerhead/
Loggerhead federal recovery plan: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plan/090116.pdf