A golden turtle has been discovered in Nepal for the first time ever. The turtle is now being hailed as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, reports the Daily Mail.
According to Mithila Wildlife Trust, which identified the turtle as an Indian Flap shell Turtle or Lissemys punctata andersoni, the reptile gets its unique color from a rare genetic mutation that alters its pigmentation. The condition that gives the turtle its dazzling gold shell is called chromatic leucism.
It is believed to be only the fifth time that a golden turtle of the species Lissemys punctata andersoni has been spotted anywhere in the world, and the first time ever in Nepal.
According to the Trust, the turtle was rescued by Chandradeep Sada, an animal keeper at Dhanushadham Protected Forest. The discovery has created a huge buzz online, and pictures of the turtle have gone massively viral on social media.
Kamal Devkota, a reptile expert who documented the find and recently published a research paper on the turtle along with Dev Narayan Mandal and Hinrich Kaiser, said that it had a deep spiritual significance.
"Not only golden animals but turtles overall have significant religious and cultural value in Nepal," he said, according to Ladbible. "In Hindu mythology, the upper shell of the turtle denotes the sky and lower shell denotes earth."
In an email interview with Global Voices organization, Mr. Devkota explained: "Our team member, Chandradeep Sada, rescued this rare golden turtle from Dhanushadham Municipality, Nepal on April 14, 2018. Later, Dev Narayan Mandal identified it as an Indian flap shell turtle. We further researched it and found that the color aberrations are quite rare in nature."
The golden turtle was released back into the wild after pictures were taken as proof.