Lepidochelys olivacea: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle


Olive ridleys are also known as Pacific ridleys. They have a smooth slightly tall shell that can be up to 30 inches in length. Although they are one of the smallest sea turtles, they can weigh up to 100 pounds. The tails of males stick out past their shell while those of females do not. They can be found in subtropical and tropical waters of the Pacific, Indian, and southern Atlantic oceans. They spend most of their time in shallow soft-bottomed seas near the shore, where they feed and sunbathe. However, they also spend a lot of time out in the open ocean as well. Primarily feed on jellyfish, snails, crabs, and shrimp, but will also eat algae when their main other foods are lacking. Sometimes during a night of high tide between June and December, females will return to the beach they were born to lay their eggs. Hundreds or even thousands of females will arrive around the same time on the same shore in what is called an “arribada”. Females dig a nest 30 to 55 centimeters deep and lay around 107 eggs, which will hatch around 50 days later. Sometimes the density of arribadas is so high, that females will dig out previously-laid nests to lay their own nests. “Arribada” means “arrival by sea” in Spanish.

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