Kemp's Ridley turtle Facts

Kemp's Ridley turtle Facts
Kemp's Ridley turtle is the smallest of the seven species of sea turtles. It inhabits warm, shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and eastern coast of the USA. Kemp's Ridley turtles are on a target of hunters because of their meat, shell and eggs (which are sold as aphrodisiac in some parts of the world). Other factors which decrease number of Kemp's Ridley turtles in the wild are pollution of the sea (especially oil spills) and by-catch (turtles end up trapped in the shrimp trawls). Kemp's Ridley turtle is the rarest species of sea turtles in the world. It is listed as critically endangered.
Interesting Kemp's Ridley turtle Facts:
Kemp's Ridley turtle can reach 2 feet in length and 100 pounds of weight.
Upper part of the shell (called carapace) is grey-olive colored. Lower part of the shell (plastron) is creamy white. Young turtles are dark colored.
Kemp's Ridley turtle has flat carapace that is almost equally wide and long.
Kemp's Ridley turtle has triangular head, parrot-like beak and strong jaws.
Kemp's Ridley turtles have flippers-like front legs that serve as paddles in the water and like shovels on the ground (females used them to dig nests in the sand).
Diet of Kemp's Ridley turtles is based on shrimps, jellyfish, shellfish, fish and mollusks. They occasionally eat sea grass.
Kemp's Ridley turtles spend their entire life in the water. Only females visit shore once per year or every second year to lay eggs.
Kemp's Ridley turtles are migratory species. They travel hundreds of miles to find beaches where they were born to lay eggs.
Female lays 90 to 110 eggs in the nest in the sand. Incubation period lasts 45 to 70 days. Females produce several clutches of eggs during the nesting season which lasts from April to August.
All females gather on the shore to deposit eggs at the same time. Collective nesting of Kemp's Ridley turtles is known as "arribada". Unfortunately, number of nesting turtles dropped from nearly 40 000 (recorded during the 1947.) to less than 1000 (today).
Most Kemp's Ridley turtles nest on the Rancho Nuevo beach in Mexico. Some females nest on the coasts of Texas and Ireland.
Unlike other sea turtles, Kemp's Ridley turtles deposit eggs during the day. Hatchlings emerge from the eggs during the night to avoid predators such as coyotes. They use tooth on top of the head to break the eggshell.
Gender of the Kemp's Ridley turtles depends on the temperature. Male turtles develop from the eggs incubated on a temperature below 29.5 degrees of Celsius.
Young turtles spend first few years of their life in dense underwater vegetation. Kemp's Ridley turtles reach sexual maturity at the age of 10 to 12 years.
Kemp's Ridley turtle can survive up to 50 years in the wild.

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