The mischievous Loggerhead turtle embodies an ancient past and a travelling spirit as it migrates thousands of kilometres between feeding grounds and nesting beaches to breed.
With its lizard-like head, hooked beak and toothless jaw, the Loggerhead turtle certainly looks the part of a prehistoric creature. Its shell can be green, brown, grey or black and usually grows up to one metre in length. The plates on its shell are called scutes and are usually streaked with reds or browns.
Turtles have been swimming the earth’s oceans since the time of the dinosaurs, more than 100 million years ago. The Loggerhead turtle is one of seven different species of marine turtle, six of which are found in Australian waters. However, despite their aptitude for survival, all seven species of turtle are now threatened due to poachers, predators, pollution and habitat destruction.
Lost at Sea
While Loggerheads enjoy the sun and the heat of tropical waters in northern Australia, sometimes they journey a little too far south for their own good. These turtles have been found washed up on Victorian beaches in a poor state of health, almost 2,000 kilometres from home.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium voluntarily rehabilitates these turtles until they are fighting fit and then releases them back to the wild under the guidance of the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
Loggerhead Turtle Fast Facts:
- Common Name: Loggerhead Turtle
- Scientific Name: Caretta caretta
- Habitat: Coastal waters
- Diet: Sea grass, algae, fish, mangroves, sea jellies, worms and crustaceans
- Size: Up to 1m
- Range: Coastal waters throughout Australia
- Threats: Overfishing and habitat loss
- Conservation Status: Endangered