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Resident Sea Turtles

Kemp's ridley sea turtle

Lepidochelys kempii

Today's Research for Tomorrow's Oceans

Species Type:


Common Name(s):

Kemp's ridley sea turtle


Kemp's Ridley sea turtles are the smallest sea turtles, only growing to around 2 feet (0.61meters) long, and weighing in anywhere from 70-100 pounds (31.7- 45.4 kilograms).


Crabs make up the majority of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle's diet. They will also feed on fish bycatch, and other bottom dwelling crustaceans, if readily available.

Range & Habitat:

Kemp's Ridleys are most commonly found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, only coming to the east coast of the United States to nest briefly, before continuing their aquatic journey.


Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are highly adaptable swimmers, spending the majority if their lives in the water. Triangular shaped heads, shorter necks and smaller carapaces allow them to glide through the water using little energy. These sea turtles like to stay in the shallow waters of bays and lagoons. Preferring a relatively solitary life, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles only socialize during mating and nesting season (April-July). These turtles are listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.