Olive Ridley Sea Turtle
Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), are the smallest among the sea turtles. These have been named as Olive ridley turtle because of the greenish color of its shell and skin. They have a deeper body and they resemble very much to Kemp's ridley turtle.
These turtles are smaller in size. They grow up to 2 feet and weigh up to 45 kilograms. The Olive Ridley has a smaller shell and smaller head as compared to the Kemp's ridley turtles. These species are known to have four flippers and all the four flippers have one or two visible claws. The size of these species may vary from region to region.
Habitat and Distribution
The Olive Ridleys are found in the coastal areas, which consist of estuaries and bays. These turtles move up to 4000 km from the sea-shore in the process of mating or feeding. They are found all over the world in the oceans like the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.
The Olive Ridleys are carnivorous by nature and feed on varied species such as jellyfish, crabs, snails and shrimps. They also feed on seaweed and algae.
Breeding / Reproduction
These turtles reach sexual maturity at the age of around 12 years. These species have a very distinct type of breeding behavior. Thousands of females gather together at the sea- shore and nest for a period of about (2 to 3) days. This process is popularly known as "arribadas", which is a Spanish word meaning "mass arrivals". The Olive Ridley turtle lay around 100 eggs and the nesting occurs around (1 to 3) times per season.
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has listed the Olive Ridley turtle in the Red list of endangered species. The main reasons behind the decline in the population of these species are killing these species for their meat and taking their eggs. During "arribadas" a huge group of these turtles come together at the sea-shore and they give a chance to kill them in mass and collect huge numbers of eggs. Today government is putting lots of efforts to protect this species from getting extinct. Today these turtles are protected by national laws and international treaties and agreements. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) have banned on the international trade of these turtles. Apart from this, a warning has been released that eating the flesh or eggs of these olive ridley turtle may cause severe illness or even death. This is because their flesh contains "chelonitoxin", which may cause symptoms like diarrhea, skin rash, vomiting, coma or death.
Olive ridley turtle Facts
The olive ridley turtle are one of the most interesting sea animals. Some of the interesting facts about this species are as follows:
- This is the most abundant sea turtle world-wide.
- Male and female can be distinguished with the help of their tail.
- The tail of the males sticks out beyond the carapace.
- They have a shell on their back, which is heart-shaped.