A beautiful turtle has been spotted with a dazzling golden shell and was compared to the mythological incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu.
The turtle gets its bizarre coloration from an extremely rare genetic mutation that changes its pigmentation.
The creature is the first golden turtle spotted in Nepal and is believed to be the fifth of the species Lissemys punctate andersoni discovered worldwide.
Reptile expert Kamal Devkota who documented the discovery said the golden turtle had a deep spiritual significance.
“Not only golden animals but turtles overall have significant religious and cultural value in Nepal,” Mr. Devkota said.
He continued: “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.”
Kurma, Vishnu’s turtle, is worshipped in many temples in India.
The golden turtle has a condition called chromatic leucism, which is characterized by a loss of color pigmentation.
It usually results in pale, patchy or white skin but in the turtle’s case, cells with yellow pigments became dominant.
Mr. Devkota continued: “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!”
He added: “’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.
“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.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section and SHARE this story with your friends and family!