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Sea Turtle Hatching

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Kemp's ridley sea turtles

The Kemp's ridley sea turtle is the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world, and the Padre Island National Seashore is the most important Kemp's ridley nesting beach in the United States, in terms of the total number of nests located. Every year, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles come back to nest and restore what was once a diminishing species. In an effort to save the species, eggs are collected, incubated and released at the Padre Island National Seashore.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the smallest type of sea turtles ranging from 27 to 32 inches in size, and weighing up to 100 pounds. As hatchlings, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are dark gray in color and as they mature, their color changes to an olive green upper shell and yellow to tan underneath.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles prefer the open ocean and gulf waters as a habitat. The male sea turtles spend their entire lives at sea, while the females only come ashore to lay their eggs in the beach sand. The nesting season for Kemp’s is from April to Mid-July, in which the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle will crawl up the beach, dig a hole in the sand with their rear flippers, deposit the eggs into the hole, cover the nest, and return to the ocean.

For information about upcoming hatchling releases during the nesting season from April to Mid July, call the Hatchling Hotline (361-949-7163).

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