For those who aren’t sure exactly what albinism is, it’s a gene mutation that causes the skin to lose all melanin pigment, thus, turning it completely white. It affects animals of all kinds such as birds, mammals, reptiles, and even humans. However, albino turtles have been observed to have one remaining pigment in their skin, which results in them appearing reddish or yellow in color rather than fully white. And it’s pretty cool!
The most common type of albinism seems to happen amongst the Sculana Turtles. Since these turtles have appearances quite different from others, they often have a rough time living in the wild. That is because they have impaired vision – something that is common in many other species who have albinism. Therefore, these turtles often have difficulty finding food or avoiding predators. In addition, their stark bright coloring means that they can’t blend in with their surroundings and stick out to predators.
Albinism turtles live comparatively fewer years than other turtles. However, these particular turtles are lucky in the sense that, unlike other turtles, they actually have hard shells that protect them. Regardless, albino turtles in the wild are still quite a rare sight. Adding to the rarity of the albino turtle is one called Hope, who was born with an additional rarity.
Hope was born with her heart on the outside of her body. Given that she’s a rarity with a rarity, her family knew they had to give her the name Hope. She recently passed her first year birthday, so everyone is hopeful that she’ll live a long and happy life.
In a post on Instagram, her owners wrote, “One year ago today @thealbinocollection gave me (all of us) the gift of Hope. At first, I was really worried and nervous that I’d wake up one day and she’d be gone, but here we are a year later and Hope is thriving. Together we’ve brought strength and positivity and hope to millions of people around the world. A little love, support, and passion goes a long way. I’m forever grateful to have such a strong animal in my daily life, to give me the strength to keep going when I feel like I’ve got nothing left. To give others strength when they too feel like they have nothing left. Thank you all for your love and support over this past year. We have a lot more positive vibes to spread together! #SpreadHope.”
Through Instagram, her owner, Mike, was able to track her journey and share it with followers. During an interview, he said, “It was like seeing something that I couldn’t have ever imagined to exist. They are very interactive and will beg you for food, they will pose for the camera and everything, but they are not meant to be handled. Don’t get me wrong they can be handled, but they are no dog or cat. They are happiest when you leave them alone!”
What do you think of these albino turtles?
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.