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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California





California Sea Turtles with Five or More Costal Scales

 






Comparison chart for all California Sea Turtles


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Loggerhead Sea Turtle -
Caretta caretta
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle -
Lepidochelys olivacea
turtle
© Carlos Rodriguez Munoz
turtle
© William Flaxington
turtle
© Carlos Rodriguez Munoz
turtle
© William Flaxington

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle and the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle both have five or more costal scales.


turtle turtle
They also both have two pairs of pre-frontal scales.

One way to differentiate them is to notice if the shell is smooth or serrated and to look at the shell color.
turtle
© Carlos Rodriguez Munoz
turtle
© William Flaxington
The posterior rim of the Loggerhead's shell is serrated.

The color is reddish or orange-brown with light yellowish edging around the scales.
The shell of an adult Olive Ridley is smooth.
(It can be serrated on juveniles.)

The color is olive to gray.

Another way to differentiate these two species is to look at the overall size of the animal, including the size of the head.
turtle turtle
The head of a Loggerhead is very broad.
The shell is high in front.

The Loggerhead is the largest sea turtle with a hard shell.

The head is not as broad as that of the Loggerhead.

The Olive Ridley is the smallest sea turtle.


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