Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead Sea Turtles are known for their massive heads. The standout size of their heads is actually how this species got its name! They’re incredible long-distance swimmers and spend the majority of their life cruising in the open ocean. It’s estimated that they can swim hundreds to thousands of miles from their foraging grounds to their nesting beaches.

Story of Success

Our rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle serves as an important ambassador for ocean conservation. She was rescued in 2013 with several injuries that affected her buoyancy including a large gap in the bottom right part of her shell, an abnormally curved spine and paralysis in her back flippers.

After spending some time at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, she came to Birch Aquarium and found her forever home. When she arrived at Birch Aquarium in 2014, she was underweight and only weighed 98 pounds. She has since thrived under our care and currently weighs more than 200 pounds. 

Turtles and Technology

Our rescued sea turtle has a “unique” swimming style, as her former injuries paralyzed her back flippers and affected her buoyancy. But with the help of a 3D-printed brace on her shell, she continues to thrive and swim in style. 

In 2016, Birch Aquarium teamed up with the Digital Media Lab at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library to create what is believed to be the first 3D-printed brace for a sea turtle’s shell. This brace — made of strong plastic and precisely fitted to its shell with marine-safe epoxy — slows the downward curving of her shell, promotes more normal growth and prevents further complications.

Read about the brace

In 2021, our Loggerhead Sea Turtle underwent a structured blue light 3D scan. This technology essentially “mapped” our sea turtle with pulsating lights to create a near-instant and accurate 3D scan. The scan gathered her overall size and dimensions, the unique characteristics of her shell and helped our team document the current status of her shell’s 3D printed brace.

Read about the scan

Loggerhead Sea Turtle cleaning.

Sea Turtle 101

Join an educator to learn more about our rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle and how advancements in technology help her thrive! Check our daily schedule to see when Sea Turtle 101 takes place at the aquarium.

Check Daily Schedule