Rare yellow 'albino' turtle is rescued from a village pond in India

Rare yellow ‘albino’ turtle that ‘looks like melted burger cheese’ is rescued from a village pond in India

  • Animal is believed to be a rare example of the specie called Indian flap shell 
  • It is a bizarre yellow colour likely due to a genetic mutation causing albinism  
  • Villagers s rescued the animal from a pond in a West Bengal, India    

A bizarre turtle that is bright yellow has been spotted in a village pond in West Bengal, India.

The rare animal is afflicted with a form of albinism which affects its colouration and has been compared online to melted cheese on a burger. 

It belongs to a rare species called the Indian flap shell turtle. 

A bizarre turtle that is bright yellow has been spotted in a village pond in West Bengal, India. The rare animal is afflicted with a form of albinism

Sneha Dharwadka posted images of the turtle on Twitter and suggested two potential explanations for its bizarre colouration. 

‘It’s an albino kind whose peculiar yellow colour is may be bcoz of either some genetic mutation or congenital disorder due to absence of tyrosine pigment,’ he says.  

The Indian flap shell turtle, which is normally green, is typically found in South Asia and is between 9 to 14 inches long.

In August, a similar animal of the same species was discovered in Nepal.

At the time it was compared to a mythological incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu.

These two events make up just the fifth and sixth sightings of albinism in this species. 

Kamal Devkota, a reptile expert who documented the previous find, said the reptile had a deep spiritual significance. 

‘Not only golden animals but turtles overall have significant religious and cultural value in Nepal,’ he said.

‘It is believed that Lord Vishnu took the form of a turtle to save the universe from destruction in his incarnation.

‘In Hindu mythology the upper shell of the turtle denotes the sky and lower shell denotes earth.’

Vishnu’s turtle avatar, known as Kurma, is today worshipped in a number of temples in India.

The golden turtle owes its remarkable colour to chromatic leucism — a condition characterised by a loss of colour pigmentation.

Leucism usually results in white, pale or patchy skin, but in this case it lead to xanthophores — cells abundant with yellow pigments — becoming dominant.

Kamal Devkota, a reptile expert who documented a similar previous find, said the reptile had a deep spiritual significance. ‘Not only golden animals but turtles overall have significant religious and cultural value in Nepal,’ he said

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