Gray's Reef

A seaturtle swims among corals

Photo: Greg McFall/NOAA

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerheads are the most abundant sea turtle species found in U.S. Atlantic coastal waters. In Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, they’re often spotted resting and foraging. They get their name for their large, muscular heads, which help them feed on hard-shelled prey like whelks. Lucky for them, invertebrates are in abundance at Gray’s Reef!

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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Caretta caretta

DIET: Invertebrates like crabs, sea urchins, and jellyfish

LENGTH: Average 3 feet

WEIGHT: Average 250 pounds

LIFE SPAN: Unknown, possibly 50+ years

THREATS: Bycatch in fishing gear, nesting habitat degradation, vessel strikes, entanglement in marine debris

STATUS: Threatened

FUN FACT: Loggerheads are the largest hard-shelled turtle in the world.