Loggerhead Turtle seen in Turkey Copyright Emma Rance
A rare Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) has been spotted enjoying a swim off Portland Bill.
While taking a trip out on his boat local man, Jim Davies, spotted a rare Loggerhead Turtle in the water about 150 metres off Portland Bill. Understandably Jim was very excited by this rare sight, he said:
“I observed it about 60 metres away from my boat initially before losing sight of it. Then suddenly it surfaced about 10 metres from my boat, which was quite amazing.”
Loggerhead Turtles are the largest species of hard-shelled sea turtle, getting their name from their particularly large head, which contains extremely strong jaws, used for feeding on crustaceans and jellyfish. Adult Loggerheads are usually around 90cm, with a reddishbrown, heart shaped shell.
Emma Rance, Marine Conservation Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust said:
“We are really excited to hear about this sighting; we have always stated that it would be likely to see a turtle given the numbers of jellyfish we get every summer but, this is the first time a Loggerhead has been spotted swimming near our coast.”
Classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, it is illegal to harm or capture a Loggerhead Turtle. Like other sea turtles, Loggerheads, are also susceptible to the damage caused by ingesting plastic bags, which they mistake for jellyfish, so it is really important to make sure rubbish is disposed of correctly.
It is possible the turtle is still foraging off Portland Bill, so visitors are asked to be careful and keep their cameras at the ready, so this rare sight can be caught on film.
If you spot a sea turtle please report it to the Marine Conservation Society www.mcsuk.org/sightings/turtles.