Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) is the smallest sea turtle in the world. However, it is also a critically endangered species of sea turtles. From the genus Lepidochelys, it is one of the only two species that are alive today. The olive ridley sea turtle is the other one in this genus. It has a beak and its forelimbs are like flippers. Its carapace (upper shell) has an olive-gray shade. Its head is shaped like a triangle with a curving beak.
These turtles can grow up to 76 centimeters in length and weighs up to 110 pounds.
On average, kemp’s ridleys have lifespan of around 50 years.
Kemp’s ridley reaches maturity at the age of 10 to 12 years. Mating season occurs between April and August.
These turtles lay a clutch size of 110 eggs. With a 10-day interval, females nest for about 3 times in a season. The eggs are hatched after 45 to 70 days.
Typically, kemp’s ridley is a warm-water species of sea turtles. However, they migrate long distances up to the north toward New Jersey and Florida as well as the Gulf of Mexico. They are widely distributed along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
The juvenile species readily eat crabs. But the adults usually prey on jellyfish, crustaceans, sea weeds, mollusks and sea urchins.
Pollution, habitat destruction and its bycatch are the possible threats to its survival.
Other Name: Atlantic Ridley Sea Turtle