Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle is the smallest and most endangered sea turtle. Adults do not exceed 0.8 meters (30 inches) in shell length and range in weight from 36-45 kilograms (80-100 pounds). The broadly oval-shaped shell is usually olive grey, but the young are black. Kemp's ridley sea turtles are found in the costal waters and bays of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean where they forage predominately on crabs.
On one day in 1947 approximately 40,000 female Kemp's ridleys nested at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico. A large scale nesting event such as this is called an arribada. Today less than 1,000 females annually nest at Rancho Nuevo.
The decline of this species was primarily due to human activities including collection of eggs, fishing for juveniles and adults, killing adults for meat and other products, and direct take for indigenous use. In addition to those sources of mortality, Kemp's ridleys have been subject to high levels of incidental take by shrimp trawling which is believed to have hurt their recovery.
ESA Status: Endangered
To report a sea turtle sighting, stranding or death please call our hotline: 1-800-628-9944
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