Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Facts | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior

The olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the smallest of sea turtles. They are typically found in the tropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Olive ridleys are the most common turtles. They have got heart-shaped carapace. They are thought to eat soft and hard-bodied invertebrates.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Facts


  • Adult olive ridleys weigh about 77 – 100 lb (35 – 45 kg). The straight length of the ridleys averages 25 – 30 inches (60 – 75 cm).
  • They have large head and circular shell. The undersides show yellow color while the overall body is grey to black.
  • Young sea turtles are recognized by their dark grey body and it goes nearly all black when they are wet. The carapace length averages 37 – 50 mm.
  • There is a white line that borders the carapace.
  • Mature females have shorter and slightly thin tail.

See also: Green Sea Turtle Facts 

Geographic Range 

  • Olive ridley sea turtles occur in the warm tropical waters of the world’s major oceans. However they have a quite patchy distribution.
  • In the Central American beaches and Mexico, olive ridleys nest in large numbers.
  • They do not breed on the Central Pacific islands.
  • Olive ridleys also nest in greater numbers in the eastern India and Sri Lanka. In the Atlantic of Brazil and western Africa they are found but in small numbers.
  • Tens of thousands of adult females nest on the beaches of Pacific Costa Rica.
  • Their range includes several including as far as Australia and New Zealand. On the Atlantic side, they live alone the French Guiana, Venezuela, Surinam, and Guyana. The Gulf of California and Galapagos Islands also hosts many olive ridleys.

See also: Sea Turtle Facts For Kids

olive ridley sea turtle facts
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle ©seaturtleexploration.com

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Habitat

  • They are most likely to live in shallow waters which rarely go as deep as 22–55 meters. Olive ridleys do not go more than 15 km far from the mainland shores.
  • Sea turtles also make habitats in open waters but only sometimes.

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • Olive ridley sea turtles are thought to feed on invertebrates. Olive ridley’s diet consists of sea urchins, bivalves, protochordates, bryozoans, tunicates, crabs, jellyfish, sipunculid worms, rock lobsters, and snails.
  • In open waters, they will readily consume fish eggs and adult fish.

Reproductive Biology

  • In Suriname, a female lays as many as 30–168 eggs but the mean size of a clutch is 116 eggs. However in the eastern Pacific the clutch size ranges from 74 to 126 eggs.
  • Each of the females lays up to 3 clutches per season.
  • The incubation period lasts about 45 – 51 days but in unfavorable conditions it could extend up to 10 weeks.
  • Olive ridleys will gather on the breeding sites at least 60 days before nesting. Depending on the location, the breeding mostly occurs from September to December.
  • They typically make nests at night.

Olive Ridley Predators

Olive ridley sea turtles have got many different predators such as;

  • Feral dogs
  • Opossums
  • Pigs
  • Ghost crabs
  • Raccoons
  • Frigate birds
  • Oceanic fishes
  • Crocodiles
  • Coyotes
  • Iguanas
  • Caimans
  • Sunbeam snakes
  • Sharks
  • Killer whales
  • Crabs

Conservation Status


Express yourself about the animals

Latest from Reptiles

Follow Us