The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), is a species of oceanic turtle distributed throughout the world. It is a marine reptile, belonging to the family Cheloniidae. The average loggerhead measures around 90 cm (35 in) in carapace length when fully grown. The adult loggerhead sea turtle weighs approximately 135 kg (298 lb), with the largest specimens weighing in at more than 450 kg (1,000 lb). The skin ranges from yellow to brown in color, and the shell is typically reddish brown. No external differences in sex are seen until the turtle becomes an adult, the most obvious difference being the adult males have thicker tails and shorter plastrons (lower shells) than the females.
The loggerhead sea turtle is found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. It spends most of its life in saltwater and estuarine habitats, with females briefly coming ashore to lay eggs. The loggerhead sea turtle has a low reproductive rate; females lay an average of four egg clutches and then become quiescent, producing no eggs for two to three years. The loggerhead reaches sexual maturity within 17–33 years and has a lifespan of 47–67 years.
The loggerhead sea turtle is omnivorous, feeding mainly on bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Its large and powerful jaws serve as an effective tool for dismantling its prey. Young loggerheads are exploited by numerous predators; the eggs are especially vulnerable to terrestrial organisms. Once the turtles reach adulthood, their formidable size limits predation to large marine animals, such as sharks.
The loggerhead sea turtle is considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In total, 9 distinct population segments are under the protection of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, with 4 population segments classified as "threatened" and 5 classified as "endangered" Commercial trade of loggerheads or derived products is prohibited by CITES Appendix I. Untended fishing gear is responsible for many loggerhead deaths. The greatest threat is loss of nesting habitat due to coastal development, predation of nests, and human disturbances (such as coastal lighting and housing developments) that cause disorientations during the emergence of hatchlings