Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

안녕하세요, family and friends. Welcome to July 2020’s: Turtle of the Month. Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle.

World Turtle Day | 23 May 2020

June 2020 | Green 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
Habitat
  • 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
Nesting

conserveturtles.org

  • 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
Hatchlings
  • 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
  • Hatchlings
    • weigh around 0.5 ounce (14 grams)
    • 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length
  • Adults
    • 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?

CONSERVETURTLES.ORG

  • Shallow water permits them to dive to the bottom and feed on
    • crabs
    • fish
    • jelly fish
    • occasional seaweed & sargassum
    • mollusks
    • sea urchins
    • squid
  • They’re powerful jaws help them eat crabs and other shellfish: clams, mussels & shrimp
Unlike their Green Sea Turtle cousins, Kemp's are omnivore.
Fun facts:
  • 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
iucn red list for kemp's ridley sea turtle
Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) – IUCN RED LIST

Threats:

  • 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

What can we do to help?

Use reusable water bottles and bags – because all waste end up in the ocean and sea turtles can’t tell the difference.
5 things you can do to save sea turtles
Fisheries.noaa.gov
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.

To say thank you to my readers for taking the time to read. Keep safe and keep praying.

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