Surprising find: Olive ridley sea turtle found near California

El Nino may be to blame for the sea turtle's presence.

Craig Hall | Dec 31, 2015

Scientists were amazed after spotting an olive ridley sea turtle near Point Reyes in California this week.

This endangered sea turtle isn't supposed to be anywhere close to that area, it should be thousands of miles away, and scientists think El Nino could be to blame, according to a San Jose Mercury News report.

The turtle was found by people viewing elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore, where it was found paddling about 20 feet from shore before diving out of site. Observers noted that the turtle appeared healthy and had a shell measuring about three feet in length.

There are about seven species of sea turtles, with the olive ridley being the most common of it. Even so, it is classified as an endangered species.

The turtles is typically found thousands of miles south of the California region by the winter, making this a puzzling sighting. It seems natural to blame this on the weather phenomenon known as El Nino, which warms the waters in the area and could result in sea turtles getting confused.

Olive ridley sea turtles grow to about three feet and can weigh up to 100 pounds. They typically live about 15 years, and subsist on a diet of mollusks, shrimps, fish, lobster, and crabs. They will also dine on algae.

Sea turtles has certainly been one species scientists have worried will suffer due to the phenomenon of global warming. With the species already endangered due to human activities, the destruction of habitats as a result of global warming could further tilt things against them.

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