The Kemp’s ridley is the smallest of the sea turtles and has an extremely restricted range, nesting only along the Caribbean shores of northern Mexico and in Texas, U.S.A. Fifty years ago, the Kemp’s ridley was near extinction. Although this species now shows signs of recovery, fishing nets and coastal development continue to threaten the species, and much work remains to be done before it can be considered safe.

Lepidochelys  Kempii

Critically Endangered

  • Most restricted geographic range of all sea turtle species. Only nesting areas are in Rancho Nuevo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and in Texas, U.S.
  • Non-nesting range extends between the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean.


  • Length 1.8 - 2.2 ft
  • Weight 100 pds

  • Length 2.5 cm
  • Weight .5 oz

For all life stages, mostly benthic invertebrates (crabs, other crustaceans, and mollusks) and some jellies

  • Reproduce every 1-3 years
  • Lay 2-3 clutches of eggs per season
  • Lay 90-130 eggs per clutch
  • Ping-pong ball sized eggs weigh approximately 1 oz each
  • Incubation period is approximately 60 days long
  • Takes 10-15 years to reach sexual maturity

  • Along with olive ridleys, Kemp’s ridleys are the only sea turtles species to exhibit synchronous mass nesting, termed arribadas at end of sentence meaning arrival by sea.
  • During the arribadas, the Spanish word for ‘arrivals,’ tens of thousands of female turtles nest during the same 3-7 day period once a month.
  • Along with olive ridleys, and, to a lesser extent, flatbacks, Kemp’s ridleys are the only sea turtle species to commonly nest during the day a. 
  • An incredible Wordl-wide effort has been made to save Kemp’s ridleys from extinction by translocating eggs from beaches in Mexico to beaches in Texas.