Rare Turtle With Golden Shell Found In Nepal, Worshipped As A God

A rare turtle with a golden shell was born in Nepal because of a genetic mutation. Now, it is being revered as an incarnation of a Hindu god and being worshipped. The turtle, found in a village in Nepal has been identified as an Indian flapshell turtle by the Mithila Wildlife Trust. Kamal Devkota, a reptile expert, documented the find and explained how it has a spiritual significance.Pen News”Not only golden animals, but turtles overall have significant religious and cultural value in Nepal. It is believed that Lord Vishnu took the form of a turtle to save the universe from destruction in his incarnation,” Lad Bible quoted him as saying. He further explained, “In Hindu mythology the upper shell of the turtle denotes the sky and lower shell denotes earth.” Vishnu’s embodiment as a turtle is known as Kurma and is worshipped in many temples in India.The reason why the turtle has a golden shell is because of a condition called chromatic leucism. It causes a loss of pigmentation in animals that have this. Leucism usually affects the skin, makes it white, pale or patchy in colour. But in the turtle’s case it has reportedly led to xanthophores (cells that have lots of yellow pigment) becoming dominant.Sometime ago, a never seen yellow turtle was also found in Odisha.Pen NewsMr Devkota is from the Nepal Toxinology Association, he said, “This is my first encounter with this unusual colour of turtle. This is the first record in Nepal of chromatic leucism in this turtle, Lissemys punctata andersoni, and only the fifth in the species worldwide. So, we can say that this is one unusual discovery!”The turtle was documented by the researchers and after taking enough pictures they released it back into the wild. However, it won’t be a smooth sail for the turtle. Unlike other turtles, this one might find it more difficult to survive in the wild.Mr Devkota said, “Colour aberrations are quite rare in nature because the affected individuals may be disadvantaged in their environment. For instance, a normal Lissemys punctata is much better camouflaged in the murky, greenish, aqueous environment the species frequents.”Also Read: Fishermen In Goa Rescue Olive Ridley Turtles Trapped In Nets, CM Thanks Them For Kind GesturePen NewsExplaining why survival might be difficult for the turtle, he said, “Genetically driven conditions such as chromatic leucism would be exposed to intense negative selective pressure in nature. But such aberrant animals are highly valued in the pet trade.”The turtle was originally found in Dhanushadham Municipality, which is part of Nepal’s Dhanusha District. Let’s hope the rare turtle lives a long life. Also Read: After 20 Years Of Captivity, Turtle Travels 37,000km From Africa To Australia In Search Of Home
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