Scientific Name: Caretta caretta;
Malti: il-fekruna tal-baħar
The Loggerhead turtle is present in all oceans and is the most abundant species in the Mediterranean. The main nesting beaches are in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Tunisia and Libya.
Loggerheads with an average weight of 90-150 kg have a reddish-grey oval shell of an average length of 90-100 cm, with dented edges and a yellow coloured plastron (underside). The large robust head gives it its common English name.
The species feeds mainly on crustaceans (crabs and the like) sponges, molluscs and other invertebrates and mature at the age of 30-35 years with mature males possessing a longer tail and claw-shaped nails on the front flippers to be able to hold on the female during mating.
Loggerheads mate in the sea and lay their eggs in sandy beaches, generally on the same beach where they were born. Eggs and hatchlings are predated upon by all sort of animals, but get less susceptible as they get bigger. The survival rate to the adult phase is very low, estimated as 1 %.
Loggerheads carry out complex migrations across different marine habitats and territories. Juveniles and sub-adults have an open sea habit, several miles away from the coast, whilst they acquire a more coastal habit during the adult phase. The western Mediterranean is a feeding area where thousands of juvenile and sub-adult loggerhead sea turtles occur during the summer months.
Loggerhead turtles are protected by local and global legislation and the Mediterranean population is considered as threatened.