Free the Ocean Blog

5 Fun facts about the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle stands as one of nature’s most intriguing aquatic animals. While it might not be the most famous turtle on the block, its tales, traditions, and tiny quirks are enough to pique any curious mind.

1. They're the smallest sea turtles!

Among all the sea turtle species, the Kemp’s Ridley is the tiniest. Adult Kemp’s Ridleys typically weigh just about 100 pounds and are about 2 feet in length. That’s like carrying around a big dog, but in turtle form!

2. They throw a great party.

Kemp’s Ridley turtles have a unique nesting behavior called “arribada,” which means “arrival” in Spanish. During arribada, large groups of female turtles arrive all at once on the beach to lay their eggs. Imagine hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of turtles having a sandy party together!

3. They are picky eaters.

While many sea turtles munch on a variety of marine foods, Kemp’s Ridleys have a particular liking for crabs. It’s their favorite snack! They also eat other small animals, like jellyfish and fish, but crabs are their top pick.

4. Their name has a cool backstory.

It was named after Richard M. Kemp, a fisherman from Florida who first introduced the species to scientists. As for the “Ridley” part? It could come from the term “turtle ridley” used for sea turtles or a nod to its relative, the olive ridley. So, this little turtle’s name is a mix of history and mystery!

5. They are globetrotters.

Although most commonly associated with the Gulf of Mexico, Kemp’s Ridley turtles are known to make extensive migrations. Some have been spotted as far away as the Atlantic coasts of Europe and Africa! Talk about a grand adventure.

The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is more than just a creature of the sea; it’s a symbol of nature’s incredible diversity and beauty. With its unique habits and captivating history, this little turtle holds big surprises.

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