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Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is one of the smallest species of sea turtle. They are characterized by their olive green skin and carapace.
Origin of its name
Olive Ridley sea turtle is also known as the Pacific Ridley. These species of turtle were discovered by Mr. H. N Ridley on the Coast of Fernando De Noronha Island in Brazil, in the year 1887, therefore they were named Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. It is also named Olive Ridley Sea turtle due to its greenish olive carapace and skin.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are one of the smallest species of sea turtles. They are characterized by its heart shaped, pale green carapace and a unique asymmetrical lateral scutes. They might have up to six to eight costal and seven vertebral scutes. These turtles have a triangular broad head. Their forelimb resembles a paddle having two anterior claws. The tail of the male turtle is bigger than that of the female turtles.
Size : 2 to 2.5 feet.
Weight : 35 to 45kgs.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are mainly found in the tropical and subtropical beaches of the world. They are abundant in the warm water regions of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are distributed across beaches of Mexico to Columbia, eastern India, and Sri Lanka. A small population of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles also occurs in parts of Western Atlantic primarily along the western coast of Africa, along the coast of Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana and Venezuela. They are also found in Caribbean Sea and Puerto Rico, eastern Pacific Ocean of Galapagos Island, Chile, Gulf of California to Oregon.
Olive Ridley Sea turtles become sexually mature after 7 to 15 years. They start gathering near the beaches, two months prior to the nesting period. Their nesting period starts from June to December. The female nest for about twice a year and lays about 110 eggs. Their incubation period lasts for about 50 to 60 days. Incubation done at a temperature of 31 to 32 degree Celsius produces only female, colder temperature less than 28 degree Celsius produces males and temperature of 29 to 30 degree Celsius produces turtles of both sexes.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle have a life span of up to 50 years in the wild.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles have a very unusual nesting habit. Large number of female turtles aggregate and nest together, termed as arribadas. Thousands of Olive Ridley Sea turtles come off shore to lay their eggs.
Some of the nesting grounds of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle are:
- Near Gahirmatha in Orissa
- Scattered near Coromandel Coast and Sri Lanka
- Tropical eastern Pacific
- Central America and Mexico
- Nancite and Ostional beaches in Costa Rica
- Nicaragua, Chacocente and La Flor
- Pacific Panama
- Playa Escobilla in Oaxaca
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are carnivorous which feeds on shallow water creatures like jelly fish, crabs, rock lobsters, tunicates, snails, worms, shrimps etc. They are mostly carnivore during early stages of their life however they may even feed on algae if they are devoid of any other food supply. Studies also show that they might have a cannibalistic behavior.
Olive Ridley Hatchlings fall prey to dogs, pigs, crabs, snakes and birds. Adult turtles are attacked by sharks and whales occasionally. Humans top the list of their predators as the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are harvested in the sea for commercial uses of their hide and meat.
- Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is one of the smallest species of sea turtles
- It has an olive green heart shaped carapace
- Olive Ridley Sea Turtles nest in aggregate nesting spots termed as arribadas. Some of them nest in solitary.
- This extraordinary behavior of the turtles during nesting is still unknown. The arribadas coincide with the climatic events, phases of the moon and strong offshore winds. It is an unpredictable phenomenon.
- The arribadas occur only in few locations worldwide, the others nest in solitary.
- The Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are carnivores. They also have a cannibalistic behavior.
- They have a migratory nature and can swim up to 4828kms
Major threat to the population of Olive Ridley Sea Turtle includes:
- Humans are the leading threat to the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The eggs of the turtle are collected for human consumption and the females are captured for their hide and meat on a commercial scale.
- Coastal Development has lead to degradation of the nesting beaches. The beaches where they nest, ultimately are hampered by erosion. Construction of port and other coastline development leads to destruction of the nesting beaches.
- Marine debris like plastic bags and balloons consumed by the turtle causes entanglement and indigestion.
- Large fishing nets have lead to numerous deaths due to snagging and drowning the turtles.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle considered as the most abundant species of sea turtles in the world, has seen a considerable decline in arribadas over the time. Concentration of arribadas leads to exploitation on a commercial scale. On the other hand the migratory nature of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle makes it a shared resource between countries and conservation method by one country may lead to endangering in the other.
Laws and international treaties have been enforced to provide protection to the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles against trading it for commercial uses. They are included in the list of endangered species according to the Appendix 1 of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle are exploited for their hides, meat, oil and leather. The eggs of these turtles are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world hence they are collected from the arribadas on a large scale which has contributed in the economic development of many locals. Though such practices are illegal, however the law allows sustainable harvesting of the turtle eggs without putting pressure on their population.
Are you want to curious how to look this reptiles. Here are some images of Olive Ridley Sea Turtle.