The loggerhead turtle is the largest of the hard-shelled turtles. It is commonly seen feeding on jellyfish off the west coast. The loggerhead gets its name from the fact that its head often seems unusually large compared to the rest of its body. The scutes often have a raised appearance, with a slight ridge running along the center of them. Loggerheads grow to an average size of about 90cm (3ft) when measuring their carapace (not including head or tail), but have been known to grow up to 2.7m (8.86ft).

 

Loggerhead ID

Illustration: Kaitlin Asson

 

Key identifying characteristics

 

1. Five lateral scutes

2. Scutes often have a raised appearance

3. Front flippers have two claws

4. Rear flippers have  two or three claws

5. Carapace is longer than it is wide 6. Head appears large for its body

 

 

Before attempting to identify a turtle, alert the

Oregon  Marine Mammal Network at 1-800-452-7888

 

 

Examples

 

 

Female Loggerhead Sea Turtle entering the water in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA. Photo credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Female Loggerhead Sea Turtle entering the water in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA. Photo credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

A Loggerhead Sea Turtle with a sand-covered shell in the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, in GA.  Photo credit: NOAA

A Loggerhead Sea Turtle with a sand-covered shell in the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, in GA. Photo credit: NOAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loggerhead Sea Turtle found stranded at Gerhart, OR on December 24, 2007.  Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

Loggerhead Sea Turtle found stranded at Gerhart, OR on December 24, 2007. Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

Front end of a Loggerhead sea Turtle found stranded at Gerhart, OR on December 24, 2007.  Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

Front end of a Loggerhead sea Turtle found stranded at Gerhart, OR on December 24, 2007. Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker