Kemp's Ridley

The smallest of all the sea turtle species....


Scientific Classification

Class: Reptilia
Order: Testuidae
Family: Cheloniidae
Genus: Lepidochelys
Species: kempii

Species Description

Weight: up to 100 pounds
Length: 2 feet
Carapace: olive green in color, oval in shape and usually consist of 5 pairs for costal plates
Carnivorous Diet: crabs (particularly for juveniles), fish, jellyfish, mollusks

Reproduction: Seasonal
Lifespan: 30-50 years
Sexual Maturity: 11 to 30 years (females usually 10-17 yrs)
Breeding: April to July
Average clutch size: 100 eggs
Average clutches per season: 1-4
Range of nest incubation: 45-65 days

Life Cycle


Most Kemp’s Ridleys remain in coastal waters; however, hatchlings may spend as many as two years drifting in the Atlantic after being borne out of the Gulf of Mexico by currents. Recent research has shown that the clustering of nesting sites within this Gulf range is largely dependent on migratory conditions. Since intense predation occurs in coastal waters, nesting sites with currents facilitating rapid movement into deeper water and dispersal to suitable feeding grounds are favored

 Distribution Map

Distribution Map


Endangered species category: Endangered


  • Hunting
  • Interaction with commercial fishing gear
  • Habitat destruction
  • Pollution
  • Climate change

Conservation efforts