Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Caretta caretta

Three different species of sea turtles have been documented nesting on the Gulf Coast. While Loggerhead's are the most common, Green and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles have also been known to nest on refuge beaches.
Sea turtle nesting season begins in late May and continues through October. The eggs are protected and monitored during their incubation period and the hatchlings are seen safely to the surf as they begin their long journey to the Gulf Stream. In 2001, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a sea turtle volunteer program called Share the Beach, involving local residents and businesses in sea turtle conservation. As a result of increased monitoring and public support through this program sea turtles have been given a better chance at success.
There are a few things that you can do to help nesting sea turtles:

  •  Minimize lighting on the beach by closing blinds and draperies in oceanfront rooms at night and turning off or redirecting outside lights to keep artificial lighting from reaching the beach.
  •  Remove recreational equipment, such as lounge chairs, cabanas, umbrellas, and boats, from the beach at night. These items can deter nesting attempts and prevent hatchlings from reaching the ocean.
  •  If you encounter a turtle on the beach at night, remain quiet, still and at a distance. Flash photography and human disturbance may prevent her from nesting successfully.
  •  Leave the tracks left by turtles undisturbed. Researchers use the tracks to identify the species of turtle that nested and to find and mark the nests for protection. If you encounter a sea turtle nest or hatchlings, leave the eggs and baby turtles alone.
  • Properly dispose of your garbage. Turtles may mistake plastic bags, polystyrene (i.e. Styrofoam), and trash floating in the water as food and die when this trash blocks their intestines.

For more information about sea turtles visit http://www.fws.gov/daphne/es/Sea_Turtles/Sea_Turtle_Index.html

Facts About Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Size: Loggerhead sea turtles have massive heads, strong jaws, and a reddish-brown shell, or carapace and weigh an average of 260 lbs.

Diet: They are primarily carnivores, munching jellyfish, conchs, crabs, and even fish, but will eat seaweed and sargassum occasionally. 

Nesting Habitat: Mature females will often return, sometimes over thousands of miles, to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs.