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Olive ridley turtle

Latin name: Lepidochelys olivacea

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Olive ridley turtle

“Although it may seem that olive ridley turtles are plentiful we see signs they may be in trouble. It’s time to act now to conserve this species for the future.”

José Urteaga

Nicaragua’s Programme Manager, Fauna & Flora International

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These solitary, mostly carnivorous marine turtles prefer the open ocean and migrate hundreds or even thousands of miles every year. Olive ridley turtles only come together for the arribada, when females return to the beach, nest and lay up to one hundred eggs, between June and December.

Olive ridley turtle facts:

  • Olive ridley turtles are named for the generally greenish colour of their skin and shell, or carapace
  • They are closely related to the Kemp’s ridley, with the main difference being that olive ridleys are found only in warm waters
  • Olive and Kemp’s ridley are the smallest of the marine turtles, weighing up to 45 kilograms and reaching only about 65 centimetres in shell length
  • The olive ridley is mostly carnivorous, feeding on such creatures as jellyfish, snails, crabs, and shrimp. They will occasionally eat algae and seaweed as well

Olive ridley turtles are considered one of the most abundant species of marine turtle. However there are signs that the 800,000 strong population has declined. The main threats to young hatchlings that have to make their way from the nest to the ocean include predation by crabs, pigs, snakes and birds and the adults are often taken by sharks out at sea.

Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI’s) Marine Turtle Conservation Programme has conserved marine turtles in Nicaragua since 2002. Two important ‘arribada’ beaches are found there. Our work focuses on safeguarding key nesting sites for olive ridleys, leatherback and hawksbill turtles.

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Did you know?

Olive ridley turtles only come together as a group for the arribada, when females return to the beach, nest and lay up to one hundred eggs, between June and December.

There are a just a dozen beaches in the world where this behaviour can be seen and in some cases a single arribada can feature as many as 100,000 individual turtles nesting.

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