Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

Lepidochelys kempii (State Status: S1; critically imperiled)


The Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle is a medium-sized, gray colored sea turtle. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and may be seen close to coastal Mississippi foraging or nesting. Dead individuals have washed up in Jackson County in recent years. Sea turtles are protected and should not be bothered, handled, or captured.

Identifying Traits

  • 5 pleural scutes, the first comes in contact with the cervical scute
  • Gray in color, nearly round carapace, smaller than loggerheads


Oceanic, may be encountered eating jellyfish during blooms, occasionally nests on natural beaches and barrier islands


Pelagic, nests on beaches, forages on gelatinous prey and algae


Jellyfish, algae