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All Animals

Sea Turtle

The Kemp’s ridley is one of five species of sea turtles inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico, all of which are either threatened or endangered; the other four are the loggerhead, leatherback, Atlantic hawksbill, and green sea turtles.


Animal Facts


Texas coast, Carribean ocean, eastern Mexican coastline and coastal areas of the eastern U.S.

Location in the Zoo

You may see a rescued turtle rehabilitating in a tank in Kipp Aquarium; our vet clinic treats injured sea turtles.

Cool Animal Fact

An invention called a “turtle excluder device” or TED on commercial fishing nets allows turtles to escape and survive while fish are harvested.

How We Help Save Them

  • 80 wild sea turtles received medical care from our veterinary team in 2019.
  • The Houston Zoo is single-use plastic straw, bag, and bottle free – preventing 400,000 pieces of single-use plastics from entering bayous, lakes, and oceans each year.
  • 6 Houston bars and 1 local chain restaurant have gone plastic straw free, keeping 862,000 single use plastic straws out of landfills and the ocean.
  • Our staff conduct monthly cleanups on the Texas Coast. In 2019, we cleaned up 123 pounds of fishing line, 510 pounds of recycling, and 1,080 pounds of trash, preventing wildlife entanglement and ingestion.
  • 230 Houston Zoo staff and volunteers, and 1 board member participated in the 4th annual Plastic Free July Challenge to reduce our plastic use at the Zoo and at home.
  • 73% of Camp Zoofari campers pledged to use reusable water bottles throughout the summer, saving 4,392 single-use bottles, protecting sea turtles in the wild.
  • Our partners in Argentina brought together 750 volunteers across 20 different sites to clean up 71,848 trash items, protecting sea turtles in the region.
  • Animals like sea turtles can get injured after becoming entangled in discarded fishing line. We are working with local fishermen to help them recycle their fishing line, protecting this and other marine species in the wild.

How You Can Help

  • Call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if you see a sea turtle on the beach
  • Be a hero; reduce your use of single-use plastics!
  • Use a reusable bag whenever you shop. Reusable bags seen here can be purchased at the Houston Zoo Gift Shop, with proceeds going towards sea turtle saving efforts!

Donate now to help sea turtles:

Make a Donation


Sea Turtle News / More ›

Good News: The Zoo is Saving Sea Turtles
May 19, 2020

Good News: The Zoo is Saving Sea Turtles

Good News: Four Ways the Houston Zoo Saves Wild Sea Turtles
April 9, 2020

Good News: Four Ways the Houston Zoo Saves Wild Sea Turtles

Houston Zoo’s First Sea Turtle Release of 2020 
January 16, 2020

Houston Zoo’s First Sea Turtle Release of 2020