In the words of Steve Irwin – check out this little beauty. A rare yellow albino Indian flapshell turtle has been sighted in a village in West Bengal in India, proving nature is truly the best.
Debashish Sharma, an Indian Forest Service officer, posted pictures of the luminesce yellow turtle after it was found in a pond in Burdwan. This marks only the second time one has been photographed in the wild.
Today a Yellow Turtle was rescued from a Pond in Burdwan,WB. It's one kind of a rarely occuring Flapshell Turtle. @ParveenKaswan @SanthoshaGubbi @RandeepHooda @rameshpandeyifs pic.twitter.com/enTyNAkxmP
— Debashish Sharma, IFS (@deva_iitkgp) October 27, 2020
Indian flapshell turtles are usually found in South Asian countries, but this little guy is legendary-Pokémon-level rare. His bright yellow colour apparently comes from a lack of pigment called tyrosine, which is present in most reptiles. The lack of tyrosine is possibly due to a genetic mutation or congenital disorder.
Indian Flapshell turtles are well adapted to survive droughts and have been known to survive up to 160 days in dry conditions. They are different from the average turtle thanks to extra skin on their plastron which covers their limbs when they retract into their shells, giving them more protection. Unfortunately, in this case, it just gives this flapshell turtle the appearance of melted cheese.
A similar albino flapshell turtle was previously spotted in July 2020 by another IFS officer in Odisha India. It’s unknown if this is the same turtle.
A rare yellow turtle was spotted & rescued in Balasore, Odisha yesterday.
Most probably it was an albino. One such aberration was recorded by locals in Sindh few years back. pic.twitter.com/ZHAN8bVccU
— Susanta Nanda IFS (@susantananda3) July 20, 2020
The internet has reacted as expected to the yellow turtle, comparing it to things like plastic cheese, egg yolks and yellow paint. Scroll through the comments if you’ve ever wondered what a turtle cheeseburger looks like.
Speaking of food, the yellow colour of this albino turtle means he’s an easy target for predators. Sadly, flapshell turtles are commonly killed by humans for food, with their increasingly rare status driving up the price of their meat. Luckily, they are now protected by a wildlife protection act to help preserve the species from poaching.