Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys kempii
Common Name: Kemp's
Description: Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles grow to 27-32 inches (68 to 82 cm) long and weigh on average 75-100 pounds (33 to 45 kg). Distinguishing characteristics include a dark gray to gray-green carapace (upper shell), cream to tan plasteron (lower shell), streamlined shells, and appendages shaped like flippers.The turtle's dark, spotted head and flippers contrast sharply with its pale body. The male Kemp's Ridley spends its entire life in the water while the female only comes ashore to nest, sometimes joining large groups of nesting females called arribazones. A female will only lay eggs during the day. She will come back to the same beach to nest year after year. About 125,000 hatchlings leave nests on North American shores, but only one percent of those will survive to sexual maturity. Sexual maturity is reached at about 10-15 years for females. Little is known about the males. Each one will lay as many as 100 soft, white eggs during nesting season. Each turtle digs a hole in the sand, deposits her eggs, and returns to the sea. In 50-55 days, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles (hatchlings) rush to the water and out to sea. As hatchlings, Ridleys weigh about 0.5 ounces (14 g) with a shell the size of a half-dollar. The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle was listed as endangered 12/02/1970.

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