Olive ridley sea turtles are one of the most famous species of turtles and the second smallest–next to Kemp’s Ridley. These turtles are most famous for its mass nesting in few areas, mainly in the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica.
Along with this fascinating spectacle come international threats such as the widening and increasing market to commercialize these poor turtles because of their meat and skin. Some of those whether still incubating inside eggs or quietly swimming amongst open seas are killed and slaughtered for other men’s greed.
- Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea.
- They only grow to up to 2 feet and have a maximum weight of about 1,000 pounds.
- Males can be distinguished from females through the protruding tails from their shells.
- They are omnivores which feed on mollusks, lobsters, shrimps, fish, algae, etc.
- They have an average life span of 50 years.
- They have six to nine pairs of costals and two pairs of front scales.
- They have two protruding claws they use to dig their nesting areas.
Get to know more about olive ridley sea turtles in this article including efforts of conservation, protection and sustenance.
Origin of the Name
According to the research made by Gotch (1988), the olive ridley sea turtle got its name from a certain H.N. Ridley who was exploring the islands of Brazil. The color of its carapace or heart-shaped shell is dark olive green with a hue of gray hence its name–Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The younger ones are of grayer in shade but once they grow older, their color develops like that of the older ones.
Habitat and Distribution
Majority of the olive ridley sea turtles are found in the Pacific Ocean while the minority of these species is living in the Southern Atlantic coast of Africa and South America as well as the Indian Oceans. More specifically, a large number of the olive ridley sea turtles live in Mexico as well Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Australia and some parts of Africa along with some beaches of India. Smaller solitary nesting areas are found in Myanmar, Brazil, Guatemala and Pakistan.
These turtles like to keep to themselves, preferring to live in open oceans and continuously migrating for food and nesting.
The maturity of olive ridley sea turtles are about 15 years of age and the females reproduce at least once a year while others get to do so twice a year. They can lay about 100 eggs all at once and it will take 50-60 days for these eggs to hatch. Afterwards, these young turtles will journey back to the sea.
A fascinating fact about the female olive ridley sea turtles is that they create a big nest instead of creating their own. They all work together to put their eggs in into the big hole they dug up.
There are only about 800,000 female olive ridley sea turtles worldwide.The number of olive ridley sea turtles has dropped 50% over the last 45 years and they are considered as endangered species. Illegal acts against these turtles are done worldwide, especially in India where they capture and slaughter the turtles for their meat and skin which is of great value in the market. Even the eggs are being stolen by poachers.
Their habitats grow less and less because more and more beaches and nesting areas are being turned into commercialized and industrialized spots. If these atrocious acts won’t come to an end, they will be extinct after 50 years.
SEE Turtles is a non-profit organization of volunteers who fights for the rights of endangered turtles wherein they create conservation/protection projects to preserve these creatures. The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) have provided help to preserve these turtles and other species of such by closely monitoring egg harvesting programs, illegal activities and marketing as well as protecting and building refuges for them. The WWF as well have projects and programs made up of volunteers, conservationists and scientists who want nothing more than to keep these olive ridley sea turtles alive since they are of help in the ecosystem of the seas.