Ridley Turtle

Ridley TurtleRidley Turtle — Two species of sea turtles in the family Cheloniidae are called ridley turtles. Both may attain a length of about 700 mm (27.5 in) and commonly weigh between 30 and 36 kg (65 and 80 lb). The Indo-Pacific ridley, Lepidochelys olivacea, occurs in parts of the Indian, the Pacific, and possibly the Atlantic oceans.

It is almost uniformly olive colored and has at least six or seven large scales (pleural scutes) on each side of the midline of the upper shell (carapace). This turtle is mainly vegetarian, but shellfish and sea urchins are reported to be in its diet. The population of this overexploited species has been seriously depleted.

The Atlantic ridley, Lepidochelys kempi, the smallest of the Atlantic sea turtles and an endangered species, is found from the Gulf of Mexico northward along the Atlantic coast to Massachusetts. It has a gray coloration and only five pleural scutes on each side of the carapace.

It nests from Texas to Veracruz, Mexico, but its main nesting site is a beach in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

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