Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle Facts
- The Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle is a rather magnificent creature which sadly, is also one of the most endangered sea turtles in all the world.
- Perhaps fewer than 1,000 breeding females still exist. For this reason, the IUCN has justifiably listed this reptile as Critically Endangered.
- It bears the name of Richard M. Kemp who was the naturalist to first identify the species, in 1880. It also ranks as one of the smallest sea turtles we know of as well as the smallest within its endemic range.
- The species is also now under protection. However, unfortunately, it also still faces threats beyond those of the natural predators.
- These include accidental trapping in fishing nets and human disturbance of nesting grounds by egg collectors.
Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle Physical Description
The carapace of the amazing Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle has a rather rounded shape, with an average diameter of about 24 in (61 cm). Its maximum known weight is approximately 100 lb (45 kg).
No appreciable degree of sexual dimorphism is present in the species.
Among adults, the upper carapace is a mottled gray and green combination in color. The underside is typically a pale yellow. Yet, the newly hatched young, extraordinarily, are predominantly a deep purple.
Further, the four flippers are quite powerful, making it an extremely fast swimmer.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata:
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Cheloniidae
- Genus: Lepidochelys
- Species: L. kempii
Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle Life and Ecology
The Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle primarily inhabits the Gulf of Mexico, which is a rather small range. However, individuals have also reached as far north as Nova Scotia.
Within that range, it solely inhabits the neritic zone where it prefers areas close to shore, with depths of 160 ft (49 m) or less. This creature often inhabits regions of red mangrove, as well.
Individuals primarily feed on snails, shrimp, and spider crabs. Its natural predators (aside from humans) include foxes, raccoons, weasels, and dogs.
It also remains rather highly migratory by nature as well.
This turtle also displays a highly specialized breeding behavior, for which it is rather popular. More than 95% of all breeding females migrate to one beach, in Tamaulipas, Mexico (the one they were hatched on) to lay their eggs….all together.