Albino animals are fascinating. You have albino hedgehogs (aka spiky floofs, aka ouch mice) who look like they’re from another planet. Then you have albino zebras and albino lions who look like the most fashionable animals in the savanna, maybe even the world. Finally, you have albino turtles who are so freaking cool you have to see them to believe it.
Quick, when I say the word ‘albino,’ what color do you think of? Odds are, you’re thinking of white. Especially because albus means white in Latin. But albino turtles aren’t always white—sometimes, they’re red! Which makes them look like tiny fire-breathing dragons or fantastical creatures from a parallel universe. Our planet is far from boring; we just need to be patient and look for amazing things like these turtles.
Bored Panda talked to Aqua Mike about what his initial reaction was the very first time he saw an albino turtle. “I was immediately in love. It was like seeing something that I couldn’t have ever imagined to exist.”
“There are different species of albino turtles,” he specified. “Some may appear to be a solid yellow without much patterning, like a red-eared slider, but the pink belly side necks are known to have pink on them when they aren’t albino, so that color stays in the albino variant as well!”
According to Aqua Mike, albino turtles make amazing pets, but aren’t the same type of pet like doggos or cattos: “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. I always get asked what’s a good turtle I can get for my kids one that can 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!”
He added: “Albino turtles are amazing animals. They do require a bit more advanced care as when they’re small, it may be difficult for them to find food in their tank because of their impaired vision. This requires them to be moved to a smaller feeding container where the food is much more accessible just to ensure that they are eating enough. However, once they reach 3-4” they are much more efficient at finding food in their enclosure and do not need to be moved outside of the tank to be fed in a separate container.”
Aqua Mike continued: “Albinos are also a lot more observable than normals. A normal turtle may get shocked or scared when it sees you and this causes them to swim away & hide. The albino doesn’t feel this same sort of threat in your presence especially because you’ve been handling them to feed them for so long. They act a lot more natural and it gives you a chance to observe them and study them even better.”
Albinism works slightly differently with turtles, lizards, and other reptiles than it does with mammals, birds, and humans. Albino reptiles usually have one pigment remaining in their skin: that’s why they can look red, orange, pink, or yellow.
Odds are, I’m going to spend the rest of the day looking at pictures of albino reptiles now and pretending that dragons are real and these are their cousins (thrice removed). Some species of turtles are more likely to be born albino than others. For example, Sulcata turtles have the highest chance of being born looking cool, suave, and stylish with a reddish look.
The life of albino animals isn’t all peaches and cream. They usually have various health problems like poor eyesight, which means that they: a) can’t find food as efficiently because they don’t have access to glasses; b) can’t see predators approaching them from far away.
That’s not the only drawback. Being albino also means that predators spot you and target you, which is why a large number of albinos don’t survive childhood. So if you spot an albino animal, get them some glasses to even the odds.