Tips for Protecting Texas' Critically Endangered Sea Turtles in Galveston, Texas

Join the conservation effort of protecting Kemp's Ridley sea turtles with these tips from Turtle Island Restoration Network.

The Kemp’s Ridley is the official sea turtle of Texas and a very critically endangered species. Beginning in late spring through mid-July sea turtles will be coming ashore to nest on beaches along the Texas coast, facing a range of threats from predators to people.

About Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles

The Kemp’s ridley is the smallest and most critically endangered sea turtle, and adults are usually found in the Gulf of Mexico with some juveniles found along the east coast of the United States. This turtle is about 2 feet in length and weighs between 60 to 100 pounds. These turtles prefer shallow areas with sandy or muddy bottoms in nearshore or inshore waters. Their diet is primarily crab but they will ingest fish, jellyfish and a variety of mollusks. Unlike other sea turtles, the Kemp’s ridley typically nest during the day and will lay approximately 100 eggs in each nest.

On May 6, 2023, a beach visitor spotted a Kemp’s ridley nesting on the west end of Galveston Island! They notified the sea turtle hotline, and the female successfully nested, and 92 eggs were in the nest cavity. So far this year, 81 Kemp’s ridley nests have been found and protected on the Texas coast!

Help Protect Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles

If you are fortunate to see a female emerging from the gulf and crawling ashore to lay her eggs at the base of the dune, please do not disturb the turtle in anyway. Protect her by keeping people, dogs and vehicles a safe distance from her. Anyone spotting a nesting sea turtle should immediately call 866-TURTLE5/866-887-8535 to report the turtle.

You may find the turtle tracks in the sand. The turtle’s crawl pattern looks like alternating comma-shaped marks with a smooth belly drag in the center and possibly a tail mark. You may discover two sets of tracks, one incoming and one outgoing. If you are lucky to discover the tracks, please call 866-TURTLE5/866-887-8535 to report your finding.

Save Our Shores

To protect marine life and decrease litter on the beach, the City of Galveston has implemented a City Ordinance (No 19-017 Secs 8-27) that states all items left on the beach after sunset will be discarded. The Galveston Park Board enforces the ordinance.

Learn More

We are fortunate to share the Gulf of Mexico with such a magnificent, long-lived creature, and with your help we will be able to protect the Kemp’s ridley for many years.

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Turtle Island Restoration Network

Turtle Island Restoration Network, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, mobilizes people in local communities around the world to protect marine wildlife and the oceans and inland watersheds that sustain them. Since 1989, the organization has worked to protect and restore endangered sea turtle populations and marine biodiversity in ways that incorporate the ecological needs of marine species and the economic needs of local communities.