|Albino eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)|
The albino eastern box turtle that lives in the Exhibit Hall is celebrating its second anniversary at Ijams.
The tiny turtle was found by Aaron Bullock, at the time he was four-years-old. He named it "Space Rocket." The Bullocks called TWRA and because it was going to need so much special attention to survive, they decided the best course of action was to donate the rare reptile to Ijams.
"It's was as small as a quarter when we received it," says Dr. Louise Conrad the Ijams' veterinarian.
The petite albino turtle was initially so small and weak, Louise had to hand-feed it for months and, in time, teach it how to find food on its own.
Two years later, it weighs 40 grams or 1.4 ounces, the equivalent of 6.5 US Washington quarters. It's also very active.
In the wild, an albino turtle could hardly survive. A predator like a raccoon or coyote could spot it readily. Plus its eyes are so sensitive, direct sunlight could blind it.
Congratulations Dr. Louise! Your patient thrives.
- Story and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales.