Scientists recognise seven living species of sea turtles, which are grouped into six genera. These species include: the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), Australian flatback (Natator depressa) and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) turtle. Five of these seven species are found on the roughly 8,000 km coastline of the Indian subcontinent, there being only reports of sightings for one of them- the loggerhead; the other four are the olive ridley, green, leatherback and hawksbill.

Green turtle

Green turtles are the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles, but have a comparatively smaller head.


One of the smaller sea turtle species, the hawksbill turtle gets its name from its narrow, elongated head which tapers sharply with a V-shaped lower jaw.

Olive ridley

The olive ridley is the smallest of all the sea turtle species. It gets its name from the olive green colouration of its carapace (shell).


Adult loggerheads measure between 75 and 100 cm in length and typically weigh up to 159 kg. Loggerheads are named after their exceptionally large heads.


Largest among all the sea turtle species, leatherbacks get their name from their unique shell, which is composed of a layer of thin, tough, rubbery skin strengthened by thousands of tiny bone plates that make it appear “leathery”.