The most commonly observed turtles in the park are loggerhead sea turtles (caretta caretta). Nearly all park nests are from loggerheads.
Loggerheads are a threatened species. Threats include habitat loss, nest predation by raccoons, entanglement in fishing line and other marine debris, boat collisions and light interference that lures hatchlings onto highways instead of into the sea where they belong.
Interesting loggerhead facts -
- Loggerhead turtles are named because of their very large heads.
- Females begin laying eggs around the age of 20 years.
- They nest four times per season, on average, with two week intervals.
- Nests contain an average of 100 eggs.
- Females work hard to dig nests deep enough to hide their eggs.
- Mothers return to the sea, perhaps never to see their hatchlings emerge, reach the sea and grow into adults. The hatchlings are on their own.
- Adults weigh up to 400 pounds. Their shells, ranging from red to brown in coloring, can be three and a half feet long.