Image Courtesy: Instagram – @Aquamike23
Hope is a one-of-a-kind albino pink bellied side-neck turtle. It was born with an exposed heart. This appropriately named turtle lives on with gusto and thriving while inspiring many humans to fight against odds.
The owner of this turtle, Mike Aquilina from New Jersey turned Hope into an Insta celebrity, as he posts updates and videos of her.
Raising a Raisin
Hope was hatched in a turtle owner’s house in Florida in November 2018. This uniquely structured turtle was handed over to Mike in New Jersey, as he has enough experience to take care of her. This turtle’s condition is so rare, that it could not be diagnosed as a disease. However, if it occurs in humans, it would be referred to as Ectopia Cordis.
Mike has always been a turtle owner. With Hope, he has taken it upon himself to document her life story since. Since it has been fighting every odd and continues to grow stronger and healthier.
When it came home, Hope was so tiny and was only a bit bigger than a quarter. Mike was afraid to touch her as she was too small. She was delicate, fragile and her weakness is exposed. “When I look at her exposed heart, it looks like a raisin underneath a piece of gum which is trying to inflate but can’t,” he explains.
Eating & Swimming
Hope’s favorite activities are eating and swimming. She knows exactly when it’s time to eat. Every day, as soon as Mike enters the house, he goes to her tank, and the moment she sees his face across the tank glass, she moves towards him. He feeds her with tongs, as fingers are too big for her mouth. Hope is very responsive to food and is excited every time she is fed.
Today, Hope is 12.9 kg according to Mike’s recent Instagram posts. Hope enjoys swimming all alone in a separate tank, away from Mike’s other pets. He prefers Hope being alone as he is afraid that other turtles might cause harm to her exposed heart and is susceptible to infections.
“Hope has impacted my life in so many ways it actually makes me emotional,” Mike told Caters News Agency. Hope has millions of followers on social media. “I never thought about, how in a few months’ time this animal would come to change my life and give me the ability to impact so many lives with her story,” he captioned one of his posts.