Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Loggerhead, turtle, florida

The most common sea turtle in Florida, the loggerhead is named for its massive, block-like head. Loggerheads are among the larger sea turtles; adults weigh an average of 275 pounds and have a shell length of about 3 feet. Its carapace, which is a ruddy brown on top and creamy yellow underneath, is very broad near the front of the turtle and tapers toward the rear. Each of its flippers has two claws. As is true for all sea turtles, the adult male has a long tail, whereas the female's tail is short; however, a juvenile's cannot be determined externally.
Loggerhead sea turtles like to eat bottom dwelling sea creatures. A good meal would consist of horseshoe crabs, clams, or mussels. They have a strong jaw that can crush the shells.
The loggerhead sea turtle, our state reptile, has a rich reddish-brown carapace and yellow plastron. The loggerhead’s large skull provides for the attachment of strong jaw muscles for crushing conchs and crabs. Loggerheads usually leave the cold coastal waters in the winter and are often seen along the western edge of the Gulf Stream. The major nesting area for the loggerhead in the western Atlantic is the southeastern United States. In South Carolina, the primary nesting beaches are between North Inlet and Prices’ Inlet, but other beaches in the southern part of the state also have moderate nesting densities. These are mainly undeveloped nesting beaches between Kiawah Island and Hilton Head. The nesting season runs from mid May to mid August. The average clutch size in South Carolina is 120 eggs. The average incubation duration is 55 - 60 days. The loggerhead is the most common sea turtle to strand in South Carolina and the nesting population has declined three percent per year since records began in 1980.
Loggerhead sea turtles are named for their exceptionally large head relative to the rest of their body. These turtles have large, powerful jaws that enable them to feed on heavy-shelled clams, crustaceans and encrusting animals such as mussels and limpets. Because of their diet, adult loggerhead turtles are usually found close to shore in coastal or estuarine areas, and are rarely seen at sea. However, juvenile loggerhead sea turtles have been known to migrate thousands of kilometres across the open ocean between their nesting beaches and their adult habitats.
Loggerhead sea turtles are slow moving. Their shell is very thick at the rear end, likely to protect them from attacks by sharks while foraging.
The name for this type of sea turtle stems from the fact that it does have an enormous heat. Did you know that they aren't able to put their heads inside of the shells? In fact, no species of sea turtle can do this. Flippers are present that also have claws on the front ones. This allows them to dig in the sand and also to protect themselves.

The biggest protection though for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle comes from the shell itself. It is smooth to the touch and it also does more than to keep them from the mouths of predators. These shells also are a way for them to keep their bodies at the right temperature. This shell can be too hard for many predators to really break through and that is good for them. They don't really have the speed or the weapons to otherwise keep predators at bay.
On July 28, 1978, the loggerhead sea turtle was designated as threatened. In 1988, a fifth grade class in the town of Ninety Six thought that if the loggerhead turtle was the state reptile, it would bring more attention to the plight of this threatened species and perhaps help conservation efforts. They wrote letters to their state Senator, Mr. John Drummond who introduced a bill in the legislature. They also came as a class and displayed a banner from the balcony of the Senate. The bill passed on the last day of the session.


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