Caretta caretta EN

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Scientific Name: Caretta caretta (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common names:Tartaruga Cabeçuda or Comum (Pt), Loggerhead Sea Turtle (En), Tortue Caouanne (Fr), Tortuga Caguama or Boba  (Sp).

The Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) occurs in tropical and subtropical seas as well as in temperate waters. The main breeding areas are located in the Atlantic off the southeast coast of the United States, Brazil and Cape Verde and in the Indian Ocean in Oman.
It is characterized by its large heart-shaped head (hence the name of loggerhead) and has powerful jaws. It has a bony carapace without ridges and large scutes that do not overlap; it is the only species that has five pairs of lateral scutes, usually brown, which distinguishes the species from the others. The plastron, the “turtle belly”, has a yellowish color.
The front flippers are short and thick, with two claws, while the back flippers may have one or two claws.
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Adult turtles of this species may measure between 73 to 107 cm (carapace curved length), and these weight on average 115 kg. There are no relevant geographic differences in shell length between individuals of different breeding populations, and there are no significant differences when compared with other populations of the Atlantic.

Normally they live in shallow depths to about 20m deep, in bays and mouths of great rivers, and can be found along the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.
These animals are mainly carnivorous. They eat mostly crabs, clams, mussels and other invertebrates. As juveniles, they can also feed on algae, especially smaller pieces of Sargassum.
During migrations, the juveniles and adults are mostly opportunistic, feeding on almost everything they find along the surface. Their powerful jaw muscles help to grind food.
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The adult Loggerhead turtles reproduce every 2 or 3 years, and can nest 4 to 7 times each season, laying  approximately 127 eggs per clutch. After 60 days approximately, the eggs hatch.

 

The global population of annual nesting females has been estimated to be around 45,000 individuals (according to estimates presented in reports and publications).
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