Data about Loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Data about Loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia

Facts from a Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources news release: 

LOGGERHEAD NESTING IN GEORGIA

Annual nest totals since comprehensive surveys began in 1989.

1989 – 675

1990 – 1,031

1991 – 1,101

1992 – 1,048

1993 – 470

1994 – 1,360

1995 – 1,022

1996 – 1,096

1997 – 789

1998 – 1,055

1999 – 1,406

2000 – 1,060

2001 – 852

2002 – 1,028

2003 – 1,504

2004 – 358

2005 – 1,187

2006 – 1,389

2007 – 689

2008 – 1,649

2009 – 997

2010 – 1,761

2011 – 1,992

2012 – 2,241

2013 – 2,242 (as of Aug. 13)

LOGGERHEADS AT A GLANCE

  • Caretta caretta: Most common sea turtle on Georgia's coast; found off coast year-round. Also one of the world's largest turtles, topping 350 pounds and sporting a carapace up to 44 inches long. How loggerheads live is not known.
  • About that name: Loggerhead refers to the species' large head.
  • Range: The Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. Nests in the U.S. from Virginia to Texas.
  • Nesting: Females reach sexual maturity at 30-35 years. From May through September, they crawl ashore at night, dig a hole in the face of dunes along barrier island beaches, and deposit and cover eggs.
  • Pilgrimage: Eggs hatch in 55-65 days. The young scramble for the water, beginning a journey that can take them from sargassum weed off Georgia's shores to a current-fed loop that circles to the Azores and the eastern Atlantic Ocean, south to west Africa and back to the western Atlantic.
  • Eats: Fish eggs and small invertebrates when small. As adults, they eat mainly crabs and mollusks, but also forage items like jellyfish and dead fish.
  • Status: Federally listed as threatened since 1978. Georgia DNR reclassified loggerheads in the state from threatened to endangered in 2006.
  • Threats: Primarily habitat loss, but also nest predation by raccoons and feral hogs, poaching, entanglement in shrimp and fishing nets, boat strikes, and even ingestion of plastic litter mistaken as food.
  • Like mother, like … A University of Georgia researcher working with DNR has identified more than 1,750 loggerhead females nesting on Georgia beaches. Of those, there at least 30 mother/daughter pairs – mothers at least 60 years old nesting alongside their 30-year-old daughters.

 

 

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