Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

Olive ridley turtle, Costa Rica
An olive ridley turtle nesting on Ostional Beach, Costa Rica. (Photo: Roderic B. Mast)

Status: Vulnerable (A2bd)

Basic Info: In one of nature’s greatest spectacles known as arribadas, the Spanish word for ‘arrival,’ olive ridleys come ashore simultaneously by the hundreds and thousands to nest. Though they are the most abundant of sea turtles, olive ridleys are increasingly threatened by trawling and coastal development.

Distribution: Circumglobal; nesting areas in tropical regions, non-nesting range extends to temperate regions.

Adults: Length 60-70 cm; mass up to 70 kg
Hatchlings: Length approximately 25 mm; mass 15-20 g

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


*Reproduce every 1-3 years
*Lay 1-3 clutches of eggs per season
*Lay 90-130 eggs per clutch
*Ping-pong ball size eggs weigh approximately 30 grams each
*Incubation period approximately 60 days long

*Olive ridleys are thought to be the most abundant sea turtle species globally
*Along with Kemp’s ridleys, olive ridleys are the only sea turtles species to exhibit synchronous mass nesting, termed arribadas. 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 Kemp’s ridleys , and, to a lesser extent, flatbacks, olive ridleys are the only sea turtle species to commonly nest during the day.

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