Olive Ridley Turtle

female olive ridley turtle nesting during arribada Orissa, India

A female Olive Ridley turtle nesting during an arribada event in Orissa, India. © Emma Doyle

The Olive Ridley sea turtle is the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles, measuring 70 cm and weighing 45 kg, on average. The Olive Ridley gets its name from its olive green, heart-shaped shell. Olive Ridleys reach adulthood at 15 years of age.

Olive Ridley turtles have a varied diet, eating algae, lobsters, crabs, tunicates, jellyfish, shrimp, fish, and fish eggs. They can dive to depths of over 150 metres to find food. In the open ocean they eat just about anything they can find.

The Olive Ridley turtle can be found in tropical regions of the South Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and spends most of its time far from shore in the open ocean. Olive Ridley turtles often migrate thousands of kilometres between feeding and breeding grounds. Fishermen have spotted adult Olive Ridleys over 4000 kilometres from land in the Pacific.

Olive Ridley turtles are known for their unique and spectacular mass nesting event called arribada (Spanish for “arrival”), where thousands of females come together on the same beach at the same time to lay their eggs. Gahirmata beach in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary,India, is home to the largest population of nesting Olive Ridleys in the world with 398,000 individual Olive Ridleys emerging from the water on average per year.

The Olive Ridley turtle is classified as Vulnerable.


olive ridley arribada nesting event in Michoacan Mexico

An Olive Ridley arribada nesting event in progress in Michoacan, Mexico. © Susie Gibson


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