rare yellow turtle
Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
July 30, 2020 ·  2 min read

Farmer Discovers Rare Yellow Turtle That Experts Haven’t Seen Before

Nature is full of interesting and surprising phenomena, but sometimes it produces something that baffles even the experts. This is what happened recently when a farmer in India found a rare yellow turtle- something officials had never seen before.

A Rare Yellow Turtle

While Basudev Mahapatra was working in his fields in the village of Sujanpur in Odisha’s Balasore district, India, he spotted the odd-looking, bright yellow turtle. He decided to bring it to forest officials, who then called in conservation experts to examine the unique animal [1].

Siddhartha Pati is the executive director at the Association for Biodiversity Conservation, which works to protect wildlife and habitats. He said that this was the first time he had ever seen this kind of turtle [2].

Wildlife Warden Bhanoomitra Acharya also commented on the unique find.

“This turtle that was rescued, its skull and body are yellow, truly it is very rare. I have not seen such a turtle in my life ever,” he said [3].

Read: World’s Largest Sea Turtle Emerges From The Sea And It Is Amazing

Mystery Solved

After some investigation, the turtle turned out to be an Indian flapshell turtle with albinism.

“It is a congenital disorder and it is characterized by complete or partial absence of tyrosine pigment,” explained Pati. “Also, sometimes a mutation takes place in the gene sequence or there is a deficiency of tyrosine.” [2]

Indian flapshell turtles (Lissemys punctata) are also found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. They are relatively small softshell turtles, and are normally brown or mud-colored with occasionally some yellow flecks on their shells and head. They typically reside in shallow waters or rice fields [4].

The special turtle is an adult, and experts believe that it is between one and a half and two years old. According to Pati, the Association regularly finds turtles and crabs and rescues and releases them into the water. This, however, was the first time in Odisha that they’ve found an albino turtle, and the second time in all of India.

Other albino turtles exist throughout the world, each of them uniquely beautiful and very rare. In 2016, newly-hatched albino green turtle was spotted on a beach in Queensland, Australia, where local volunteers affectionately named it Little Alby.

Pati says that this turtle has now been released into the wild in Balasore, and its whereabouts is not known [1].

Keep Reading: Everything you need to know about the glowing Sea Turtle