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Olive Ridley Sea Turtle: Is This Animal Endangered?

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is a type of sea turtle which is also known as Olive Ridleys, Black Olive Turtles, or Pacific ridley sea turtle. Olive Ridleys are named after the olive-colored fat that is found underneath their shell that is visibly noticeable when they are on land.

  • Status: Vulnerable
  • Known as: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, Pacific ridley sea turtle
  • Estimated numbers left in wild: 800,000 nesting females.

Olive Ridleys are one of the smallest sea turtles there are and they mostly live in warm waters near the equator. They have many predators including sharks, dolphins, seals, and humans who hunt them for food.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

Olive Ridleys have an interesting migration pattern because unlike most other sea turtles they don’t just migrate between two different habitats during mating season but instead all year round to find food or nesting sites.

Even though Olive Ridley’s populations seem stable at around 60 000 individuals per year it may still be classified as endangered because Olive Ridley’s have one of the lowest reproductive rates for sea turtles.


The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is currently not considered to be an endangered species but it may still become endangered in the near future if its population does not start growing at a faster rate.

These sea turtles have a low reproductive rate because females only lay eggs every two to three years and only about one out of a thousand hatchlings survive to adulthood. Olive Ridleys are also threatened by human activities such as hunting, fishing, and coastal development.

They are considered to be a common species. However, there is little data on their population sizes and trends.

Anatomy and Appearance

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Appearance

This sea turtle is one of the smallest of the sea turtles, measuring only 60 to 70 centimeters and weighing in at about 45 kilograms.

The color of this turtle’s shell and skin are what give the olive ridley its name, and the color can range from a dull greyish green to a more obvious olive green. The under the shell, the plastron, is a cream color, but algal growth can sometimes result in it developing a reddish hue.

The head of the turtle is medium-sized and the flippers, which are used for swimming, each have 2 claws (remnants of terrestrial feet).


Olive ridley sea turtles have a worldwide distribution, inhabiting tropical and subtropical waters through the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Nesting beaches occur on the west coast of India, in Central and South America, on the coast of Africa, and at 2 sites in Australia.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Habitat

These sea turtle species are found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.

They inhabit estuarine environments, such as mangroves, lagoons, and bays. They are also known to inhabit open waters, such as coral reefs and offshore islands.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Diet and Nutrition

It is a carnivorous sea turtle that feeds mainly on jellyfish, sea urchins, and crustaceans.

They have a sharp beak that it uses to tear apart their prey. The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle also has a strong jaw that it uses to crush the hard exoskeletons of its prey.

They will dive down to depths of 150 meters to search for bottom-dwelling food. Sea turtles will migrate long distances between feeding grounds and nesting sites.

These turtles were able to survive in the harsh environment of the ocean by eating a diet that is high in protein. The turtle is also able to store energy in its liver so that it can survive for long periods of time without food.

The sea turtle is a migratory animal and it travels long distances in order to find food. They can migrate up to 2,000 miles in a single year.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Mating Habits

Olive Ridely Sea Turtle Mating

Olive Ridleys are smaller in size than most other sea turtles when they are born.

Olive Ridleys also have a dark-colored shell that is said to be closer to black when they are adults. Olive Ridleys can live for over 100 years and their mating habits have changed with the times.

Olive Ridleys, unlike most other sea turtles, will mate with more than one partner during the nesting season. Olive Ridleys will find a suitable location to nest and then dig a hole in the sand where they lay their eggs after mating with more than one partner.

Olive Ridleys will lay anywhere from 60 to 160 eggs at a time. Olive ridley turtles have been known to be either shy or friendly depending on the circumstances and location, but it is almost always better for humans to stay away from Olive ridley turtles so as not to disturb them.

Behavior & Characteristics

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Babies

One of the characteristics of the olive ridley is that it will nest in enormous numbers at certain locations, and the turtles begin congregating near the nesting beaches 2 months before they will actually come ashore.

It is not unknown for thousands of female olive ridleys to come ashore en masse to lay their eggs. There are often so many of the turtles trying to deposit their eggs that latecomers will inadvertently dig up previously laid eggs.

These mass egg-laying episodes are called ‘arribadas’.

The beaches of Odisha, India, once saw over half a million olive ridleys come ashore over seven days to lay eggs. Each female can lay 100 eggs or more, and many of them nest 3 times a year.

The eggs will take approximately 2 months to hatch, and as the baby turtle emerges from the sand and head for the ocean they run a gauntlet of predators: gulls, raccoons, crabs, and pigs.

Interestingly, the temperature at which the eggs are incubated determines the sex ratio of the turtles – a 1:1 ratio occurs when the temperature is 29 – 30 C, while a higher temperature than this will produce only females and a lower one only males.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Predator

These sea turtle species are preyed upon by raccoons, coyotes, foxes, seagulls, and other animals. This turtle is also at risk of being hit by boats or becoming entangled in fishing nets.

Role in the Ecosystem

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is a member of the marine ecology slug that has a unique ecological role in the ecosystem.

Olive Ridleys are omnivores and their diet includes jellyfish, which they take in through their mouth and can store in their stomach for up to one month.

Olive Ridleys are very important to the ecosystem because they help with balance when it comes to population control of other species.

This is due to Olive Ridley being a predator and scavenger, so Olive Ridley helps manage the marine life’s population by eating a lot of smaller prey. Olive Ridleys also recycle nutrients from plants and animals that have died, which is essential in maintaining a rich level of marine life in the ecosystem.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle vs Other Sea Turtles

They are very similar to other sea turtle species in that they have a hard shell that helps protect them from predators and they can swim very well.

The turtle, however, is different than other sea turtles in that they are the smallest of all the sea turtles and they have a rounder shell. They also have a greyish-green color which is different than the Olive Ridleys’ cousin, the Atlantic ridley sea turtle.

It can grow to be about 1 foot in length and its life expectancy is around 30 years. Olive Ridleys get their name from the olive-colored fat that is seen coming out of their back when they are on land, making them easy to identify.

Unlike other sea turtles, Olive Ridleys only feed on jellyfish and other soft-bodied animals so they do not have teeth.

They also differ in appearance because the carapace is tan with whorls of darker brown markings which can sometimes resemble an entwined pair of rings if viewed at just the right angle.

These markings fade as the turtle gets older. They are very small, typically weighing in at around 100 pounds and measuring about two feet long when fully grown.

Despite their small size, these sea turtles can be found in many different parts of the world. They prefer warm water and can be found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

They are also known to migrate long distances, swimming as far as 1,500 miles in a single trip. They typically lay their eggs on sandy beaches and return to the sea after nesting.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle’s Relations with Other Marine Life

They are known to have a symbiotic relationship with other marine life.

For example, they were also are known to eat jellyfish, which helps to keep the population of jellyfish under control. In return, jellyfish eat the algae that often grows on the turtle’s shell, which helps to keep the turtle clean.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle’s Relationship with Humans

Sea Turtle in Net

The sea turtle has a long and complicated relationship with humans. On the one hand, they are often killed by humans because they are seen as a nuisance or as competition for fishing resources.

One of the primary reasons for the mixed relationship between the turtles and humans is that their populations are endangered. In some parts of the world, Olive Ridleys are hunted for their meat or eggs, which has led to a decrease in their population.

Additionally, Olive Ridleys often get caught in fishing nets, which can harm or kill the Olive Ridleys. These threats have been so severe that Olive Ridley populations have decreased by 80% in some parts of the world, making these turtles a species with an uncertain future.

On the other hand, Olive Ridleys are also protected by humans and their populations are carefully monitored.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Facts

Here are the interesting facts about the notable Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

  • These sea turtles are the smallest and most common sea turtles in the world.
  • They weigh around 45-60 pounds and are about 2-2.5 feet long.
  • It gets their name from the olive-colored fat that is found underneath their shell that is visibly noticeable when they are on land.
  • They are named after Olive Ridley, who was a British actress and environmentalist.
  • They are found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
  • They migrate long distances to reach their nesting sites.
  • This creature usually lay eggs in nests that contain around 100 eggs.
  • The eggs incubate for around 50 days before hatching.

Conservation Status

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is one of the most endangered sea turtles in the world. In fact, it is estimated that only about 1,000 to 2,500 adult Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are left in the wild. The biggest threats to these turtles include being caught as bycatch in fishing gear, being struck by boats, and habitat loss.

There are several things that we can do to help protect sea turtles from becoming extinct. You can help by volunteering with or supporting a local sea turtle conservation group.


Although the Olive Ridley still seems to have a robust population, this turtle still faces many threats to its continued wellbeing. In many locations, the turtles are still hunted for food, especially when they come ashore to nest, and eggs are also taken for food (especially in Mexico).

Turtles can become entangled in fishing nets, and off the coast of California, they are sometimes sucked up into the water cooling ducts of power plants.

Conservation efforts

These sea turtle species are listed in CITES as vulnerable and this has helped to curb trade in the turtles’ skins and shells.

Efforts to enforce conservation on a worldwide scale, as suggested by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, have also helped to protect the turtles. Shrimp trawling boats must now be fitted with turtle excluders, reducing accidental mortality from commercial shrimping.



Oceana Logo

Oceana is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to protect the world’s oceans. They work at the international, national, and local levels to create policies that help sustain healthy fish populations and diminish the global threat of overfishing.

Oceana is the largest international organization focused only on ocean conservation, protecting marine ecosystems and endangered species such as the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle.

Sea Turtle Conservancy

Sea Turtle Conservancy Logo

Sea Turtle Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1986.

The mission of the Sea Turtle Conservancy is to promote the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats worldwide. The Sea Turtle Conservancy does this through research, education, and advocacy.

Along with other marine turtles, is considered endangered species. Olive Ridleys face threats like pollution and habitat degradation which is leading to Olive Ridley Sea Turtle endangerment.

The organization also protects other sea turtles like the Loggerhead sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, and Green sea turtle.

Olive Ridley Project

Olive Ridley Project

The Olive Ridley Project (ORP) was established in 1997.

ORP is a charitable, non-profit organization that was founded with the explicit aim of promoting Olive Ridleys to help conservation efforts for Olive Ridleys. The Olive Ridley Project works on three main components to ensure that Olive Ridleys are conserved; education, protection, and research.

ORP is based in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Machilipatnam is one Olive Ridley nesting beach which is also known as the Olive Ridley capital of India.


There are a number of organizations that are dedicated to conserving sea turtles. Some of these organizations include the Olive Ridley Project and the World Wildlife Fund. Each of these organizations is working to help preserve sea turtles and their habitats.

Final Thoughts

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is a kind of sea turtle which is also known as Olive Ridleys, Black Olive Turtles, or Pacific ridley sea turtle.

Olive Ridleys are named after the olive-colored fat that is found underneath their shell that is visibly noticeable when they are on land. They migrate long distances to reach their nesting sites and hatch 50 days later.

These turtles face many threats to their wellbeing including hunting for food, entanglement in fishing nets, and being sucked into power plants’ water cooling systems.

Organizations such as Oceana have helped combat these threats by raising awareness about them globally through conservation efforts like using shrimp trawling boats with excluders so less marine life will be accidentally killed while shrimping. If you want to help protect this animal too, consider donating to organizations like Oceana.


Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is an endangered species, what are the main reasons for its endangerment?

It is an endangered species. It is a kind of turtle which is also known as Olive Ridley.
They are named after the olive-colored fat that is found underneath their shell that is visibly noticeable when they are on land.

The Olive Ridleys have been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List and Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

Their population has decreased by over 80% since 1975 and it continues to drop due to rising demand for their meat and eggs all around the world.

How many Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are left?

Olive Ridleys are considered “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because they only nest every two to four years and their nesting sites have been declining.

There were 2,069 of its species left in 2007 when a study began at their primary nesting site in Mexico. It is estimated that there were around 12 000 of its species when Europeans first arrived in Central America.

In the year 2000, it was recorded that only 10 000 remained which showed a decline from 1998 when it was believed that there were 25 000 Olive Ridleys alive in the world combined with sizes of these species populations across the Pacific Ocean is found to differ depending on areas visited or studied.

Olive Ridleys are also known to be under threat by human interactions such as pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, poaching for their eggs, and oil spills.

Where do Olive Ridley Sea Turtles live?

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles live in the subtropical and tropical regions of the Indian and Pacific oceans with Olive Ridleys naturally occurring in oases and coastal waters.

Why are Olive Ridley Sea Turtles killed?

These turtles are killed by animal predators, fishermen, humans collecting their eggs for meat, and tourists.

It is possible to tell if Olive Ridleys are endangered because Olive Ridleys migrate long distances to find food during the breeding season. If Olive Ridleys make the trip successfully then these species are not endangered.

When did Olive Ridley Sea Turtle become endangered?

They became endangered when commercial fishing began taking place, the shore habitats of Olive Ridleys were impacted by development and poaching.

Olive Ridleys feed on sponges on the ocean floor and their nesting sites on beaches had also been taken over by humans.

Today Olive Ridleys face more dangers than ever before with pollution and major habitat destruction which is why they are considered to be an endangered species.

What are the other sea turtle species aside from the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle?

More than 240 different species of turtles in total have been classified thus far by biologists, though this number may seem astounding in itself, it includes some reptiles which aren’t even closely related to true turtles such as lizards and tuataras.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are the most common and among the notable sea turtles in the world.
Here are the other sea turtles species:
– Loggerhead sea turtle
– Kemp’s ridley sea turtle
– Green sea turtle

What can you do to help Olive Ridley Sea Turtles?

These sea turtle species are considered critically endangered species. You can help sea turtles by volunteering with or donating to a local turtle conservation group.

You can also help the wonderful creature by reducing your use of plastics and other materials that can pollute the ocean. Educate others about the importance of these sea turtles and what we can do to help them.

You can also avoid buying items that are made from sea turtles or their parts.

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