India Olive Ridley Turtles Mass Nesting

From Here to Maternity

It's nesting season for the Olive Ridley turtle.

Named for its heart-shaped, olive-colored carapace, the Olive Ridley turtle is a familiar sight on the beaches of India, its favorite nesting grounds. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Named for its heart-shaped, olive-colored carapace, the Olive Ridley turtle is a familiar sight on the beaches of India, its favorite nesting grounds. Every winter, hundreds of thousands of females make their way to beaches—often the same beaches where they were hatched—in a movement known as the arribada. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Every winter, hundreds of thousands of females make their way to beaches—often the same beaches where they were hatched—in a movement known as the arribada. They dig holes, lay and cover their eggs—50-100 at a time—and then return to the ocean. They can do this as many as three times in a single nesting season, which can last up to six months. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images They dig holes, lay and cover their eggs—50-100 at a time—and then return to the ocean. They can do this as many as three times in a single nesting season, which can last up to six months. Given the proper conditions, the eggs will incubate for roughly 50 days before hatching. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Given the proper conditions, the eggs will incubate for roughly 50 days before hatching.
India Olive Ridley Turtles Mass Nesting

NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

India Olive Ridley Turtles Mass Nesting

NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the meantime, they are exposed to all sorts of threats: birds, crabs, coyotes, snakes, even other turtles, who sometimes unearth eggs in the process of laying their own. But the biggest threat comes from humans, who collect and eat the eggs, and threaten the turtles’ habitat.

Hatchlings will be tiny, weighing as little as half an ounce — just a bit more than a AAA-battery — but if they make it to the ocean unscathed, they can grow as heavy as 100 pounds, and live as long as 50 years. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Hatchlings will be tiny, weighing as little as half an ounce — just a bit more than a AAA-battery — but if they make it to the ocean unscathed, they can grow as heavy as 100 pounds, and live as long as 50 years. Though Olive Ridleys are the most abundant turtles in the ocean, their numbers have been declining. Eastern Pacific breeding populations are listed as endangered, and all others are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. <a href="http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/oliveridley.html#conservation" target="_">Conservationists are working</a> to reduce the traffic in turtle skins, to make fishing gear and practices less hazardous to turtles, and to protect their nesting beaches. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Though Olive Ridleys are the most abundant turtles in the ocean, their numbers have been declining. Eastern Pacific breeding populations are listed as endangered, and all others are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists are working to reduce the traffic in turtle skins, to make fishing gear and practices less hazardous to turtles, and to protect their nesting beaches.
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