안녕하세요, family and friends. Welcome to July 2020’s: Turtle of the Month. Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle.
This category was born because of my love – obsession – for turtles. When I realised I didn’t know much about this cute reptile, I decided it was time I should. You are welcome to join me in this adventure, continue reading and let me know what you think.
DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert on turtles or zoology. I have put together this information from different respected organisations and sources, see 'REFERENCES' below. This is essentially a compilation of all the facts and interesting information I've found online.
There are overall seven different species of Sea Turtles the exact number of months left for 2020 when I started this segment.
Now in our second month, I would like for us to get to know the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
What do they look like?
Compared to other sea turtles
- Often found near shallow water or seagrass and rarely go to waters deeper than 160 ft (49m)
- They are mostly found in Gulf of Mexico
- Some in Louisiana Waters
- In the Atlantic Ocean Nova Scotia
- Some migrates between feeding and breeding
- Sexual maturity is between 10-15 years with the average of 13 and can live up to 30-50 years
- They usually mate every 1-3 years
- Kemp’s engage in arribada (arrival, in Spanish) – large groups of females come offshore to nest
- Large groups nest near Rancho Nuevo, Mexico
- Small amount nest consistently in Veracruz, Mexico & Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
Much like their Green Sea Turtle cousins...
- They usually go back to the same beach where they were hatched around (May-July)
- Nesting around 2-3 times per season
- 10-28 days in between
- Clutch size average is approximately 100-110 eggs
- These eggs then incubate for 45-70 days
- Have a caruncle, a temporary tooth that has only one purpose – to break them out of their shell
- Black on both sides and each front flipper has a claw whilst the back can sometimes have two
- As soon as a hatchling breaks out of their shell they’re immediately met with predators
- Only those who makes it to the ocean spends around 2-10 years before returning to shore until adulthood
Size and Weight
- weigh around 0.5 ounce (14 grams)
- 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length
- can weight upto 99-100 lbs (45 kg)
- a carapace of between 24-28 inches
- 2-3 ft (65 cm) (0.61 – 0.94 m) in length
These Kemp's are my ideal weight... Just need to gain 3 kg more.
What do they eat?
- Shallow water permits them to dive to the bottom and feed on
- jelly fish
- occasional seaweed & sargassum
- sea urchins
- They’re powerful jaws help them eat crabs and other shellfish: clams, mussels & shrimp
Unlike their Green Sea Turtle cousins, Kemp's are omnivore.
- Kemp’s Ridley was named after Richard M. Kemp, a fisherman from Key West, Florida
- They’re the smallest sea turtles in the world
- They’re also the most endangered
- Kemp’s are highly migratory and can travel hundreds of miles to reach the nesting beach they have hatched from
- because of their migration patterns, they spend much of their time in isolation
- socialisation simply occurs during mating & nesting
- Kemp’s crawl pattern is comma-shaped
- Over-harvesting eggs
- Incidental catch by fishing gear: shrimp trawls, gill nets, longlines, traps & dredges
- many commercial fishing gears now use turtle excluder devices but Kemp’s Ridley’s numbers still haven’t bounced back
- The gulf oil spill also became a huge threat to the population of Kemp’s Ridley’s
- Adult and juvenile Kemp’s are also collected for their meat and in making other products
- Marine Debris
- Habitat degradation and loss
Use reusable water bottles and bags – because all waste end up in the ocean and sea turtles can’t tell the difference.
REFERENCES: - nwf.org - nationalgeographic.org - worldwidelife.org - Smithsonian - ocean.si.edu - IUCN-REDLIST - fisheries.noaa.gov - featured image from nwf.org
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
If you like reading devotionals, I upload every day except on Sundays. On Wednesdays, I upload Life Lessons posts. Lastly, every 23rd of the month a new Turtle of the Month is live.