These turtles are the smallest of the seven sea turtle species, weighing between 35 – 45 kg and measuring approximately 0.6 m in length. They nest in mass congregations known as ” Arribada’s” similar to their relative the olive ridley. They possess triangular shaped heads with hooked beaks and strong jaws. Kemp’s ridleys reach sexual maturity between 10-15 years of age which is significantly younger than most of the other species.
Distribution and habitats
This turtle has an extremely restricted range, nesting only along the Caribbean shores of northern Mexico and in Texas, U.S.A. The primary nesting grounds in Mexico are at Rancho Nuevo, in the state of Tamaulipas, and in Texas along the Padre Island National Seashore. A small number have also nested further north along the Texas coast. However, 95% of all nesting occurs in Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas. Fifty years ago, the Kemp’s ridley was near extinction. Although this species now shows signs of recovery, fishing nets and coastal development continue to threaten the species.
For all life stages, mostly benthic invertebrates (crabs, other crustaceans, and mollusks) and some jellies.