Loggerhead turtles are found on a lot of coral reefs that are visited by divers and although they are endangered you have a high chance of spotting one whilst diving a location in which they are located. These turtles are harmless and most are not bothered by the presence of divers and usually just look at you and then get back to whatever they were previously up to and ignore you as long as you don’t get in their way. Lots are very used to divers so you can get very close, for a decent length of time, making these creatures a perfect photographic subject, I’m sure some even pose a little!
Although seeing these beautiful, graceful creatures can be exciting you must remember that although they are not bothered by your presence you must still respect their space, remember not to touch and especially never ever ride on a turtles shell!!! As you can imagine this is a traumatic experience for them and can lead to excessive stress and shock which can make the turtle ill or even die.
As long as you treat the turtles with respect you can get a fun, enjoyable encounter.
The Loggerhead sea turtle is an oceanic turtle and spend most of their lives in open ocean. They can grow to an average length of 90cm, but some unusually large specimens have been found up to 270cm! An average weight is 135kg but can reach 450kg and they live between 47 and 67 years. Loggerhead turtles skin ranges from yellow to brown and their shell is reddish brown. They are omnivorous and feed mainly on invertebrates on the ocean floor but during migration in the open ocean they can feed on jellyfish, squid and even flying fish. This is where plastic bags dumped int he ocean can be a problem as the turtles can mistake them for jellyfish and this ingestation leads to them becoming very ill, and can cause suffocation and starvation. The toxins in the plastic can also cause thinning of the turtles egg shells therefore also threatening the future hatchlings.
Loggerhead turtles are the turtle with the largest nesting geographical range and are distributed around the world and can be found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans and Mediterranean sea. In the Atlantic they are mostly found in the south-western American coast and the Gulf of Mexico, with beaches in Florida being popular nesting sites. The Indian Ocean has populations and nests along the Mozambique and South African coast, Western Australia and the largest nesting area in Oman. The pacific population is widely spread including Japan, the South West pacific, Baja California and the Great Barrier reef. The Mediterranean is a great place for the juvenile turtles and acts like a nursery for the Atlantic turtles. There is also nesting beaches in Turkey, Cyprus and Greece.
Young sea turtles and eggs have many predators, but once they reach adulthood their only natural predators are sharks.
The Loggerhead turtle has a low reproductive rate. The females come ashore and lay four batches of eggs and then produce no eggs for two to three years. This means that they are more vulnerable to extinction and classified as an endangered species as they cannot reproduce fast enough to counteract the loss of turtles through hunting and human impact.
Many turtles are killed each year by entanglement in untended fishing nets, indigestion of plastics, loss of nesting beaches & habitat and by the introduction of exotic predators as well as being hunted by humans. A lot of the main nesting sites are now protected by conservation groups which monitor and protect nests & eggs, and sometimes relocate nests from hazards and look after sick turtles.
More detailed information on Loggerhead Turtles can be found here.
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