Field Guide to Maryland's Turtles (Order Testudines)
Kemp’s Ridley Seaturtle
Photo of Kemp's Ridley Seaturtle Nesting,
courtesy of National Park Service
23 - 27½ inches. Record - 29½ inches.
Marine waters of the Chesapeake Bay, coastal bays, near shore and the continental shelf (< 150 feet deep). Often associated with eelgrass meadows. No nesting occurs at our latitude (most nesting is at Tamaulipas, Mexico). Most of our turtles are juveniles. During the summer months, the lower Chesapeake Bay has the highest concentrations of juvenile Ridleys in the world.
How to Find
Juveniles may be observed in the Chesapeake and coastal bays in shoal areas with eelgrass beds close to shore, feeding on blue crabs. They can also be found loafing/basking for long periods on the surface, however they maintain a low profile with the carapace mostly submerged. Look for them from May to November. State and federally listed as Endangered. If you find or observe any individuals, please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
To see older newsletters, please visit the MARA Resource Page.
The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.