Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders is thinking encouraging thoughts for this incredibly rare albino baby green turtle that recently hatched on Castaways Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia.

The wee ghost turtle was spotted by volunteers from the Coolum and North Shore Coast Care group, who were observing a green turtle nest in the sand from which a total of 122 hatchlings were emerging.

In an interview with ABC News, threatened species expert Dr Col Limpus said, ‘Albino hatchlings are extremely rare; it probably occurs at the rate of one in many hundreds of thousands of eggs that are laid’.

According to group president Linda Warneminde, about 1 in every 1,000 green turtle hatchlings reach maturity, and the odds are even slimmer for an albino. But other members spoke of how active the white turtle was.

“He was beautiful, you could see his flippers were pink, like the blood flowing”, said Pergian Beach resident Jane Walton. “I just hope he survives out in the big sea. He was very fast, very keen to get in the water.“

Good luck little one!

[via Lost At E Minor]


Since today is Mario’s 30th Birthday, I’ve decided to talk about a reoccurring animal in the series today, turtles and tortoises. There are turtle like characters such as Bowser and Bowser Jr., turtle characters such as the Koopas and Dry Bones and of course turtle shells: lots and lots of turtle shells which can be used against enemies in in the Super Mario games, thrown at other racers in Mario Kart and as a weapon in Super Smash Bros.

Turtles and tortoises are not only some of the earth’s oldest living reptiles but they can live to be over 100 years old. Probably the most distinctive feature of these animals are their shells which enclose the soft parts of their bodies. These hard shells also provide protection from predators and the elements as well as camouflage. An interesting thing about these animals is that they can live on land as well as in the water (freshwater and saltwater). The terrestrial (live on land) species used to be commonly referred to as tortoises and the term turtle was originally reserved for the marine species. Most zoologists nowadays use the term turtle to refer to all members of the order. The shape of a turtle or tortoise’s shell can tell you a lot about how the animal lives. For example terrestrial species usually have a high, domed shell while aquatic species tend to have a low, streamlined top shell or carapace. The high, domed shell helps protect the terrestrial tortoises from predators while the low streamlined carapace makes it more efficient for turtles to swim. Turtles and tortoises can have a straight or side neck and do not directly pull their head into their shell like many people think. Straight-necked turtles tend to have a shorter neck which they bend into a vertical S-shape which makes their head appear as if it is being pulled straight back into their shell. Side-necked turtles bend their neck sideways so that their head rests under the edge of the shell.

All turtles and tortoises lay their eggs on land and are oviparous. Oviparous means that these animals lay eggs and that the mother provides no nourishment to the babies. Though most species of turtles and tortoises do not raise their young there is at least one species that will watch over its eggs (Burmese brown tortoise) for a few days after they’re laid to protect them from predators.

Turtles and tortoises are slower moving animals so they cannot pursue active prey but they have all sorts of different diets. Tortoises tend to be herbivores that will graze or grasses or browse on fruit or leaves but will sometimes eat insects if they happen upon them. The Galapagos Tortoise has sometimes even been known to eat the birds that they share a mutualistic bond with by crushing them with their weight when they go to clean underneath their shell (known as the plastron). Terrapins will often start off as insectivores but as they grow they will start to eat mostly aquatic vegetation. Marine turtles, depending on the species, will feed on anything from seaweed to invertebrates such as sea urchins, mollusks and jellyfish.

A message from Spieth the green sea turtle to his name sake, Jordan Spieth!

So exciting to see this little one doing so well and his name sake too! Hopefully they’ll meet when flipperd Spieth makes his way back to his home in the water.

From the The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Facebook page:

Hello! Spieth here, checking in to say hello and to show off how beautiful I am looking. I was so sick when I checked in at The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. I was just about on my last flipper. I was so relieved to be rescued! I really don’t know how much longer I could have lasted. It was great to have all the folks at the hospital telling me how beautiful I was and that they were going to help me get well but I knew the real story…that I was pretty pitiful looking with lots of stuff growing on my shell, my scutes coming off, lots of sores and I was sooo skinny. I tried my best to show the folks at the hospital that I wanted to get well and that I was going to fight for this chance at life. As they fed me, gave me my baths, and treated my wounds I heard them talking about a golfer who had just won the the Augusta Masters. They were saying that he had some ties to Topsail Island and that his grandfather lived in nearby Hampstead. Then the best part of all was they talked about him winning a special green coat. I perked up at that. After all I am a green sea turtle. Then they said his name is Jordan Spieth and that he is really a good golfer, that he always strives to do his best, and that he is a fine and respected person. I bet that grandfather helped him be that way and I know his grandfather is really proud. Then came the very very best moment. Somebody said “I know what we can name this little turtle. Spieth! Spieth in honor of Jordan Spieth.” If I hadn’t been so sick and weak at the time I would have clapped my flippers. I really liked that name. Now that I am feeling better I have heard that my namesake is a contender for the Grand Slam. If I was really well I might try to swim across the sea and turn up to wish him well but since I can’t I thought I would come on this Facebook page in the hope that someone will give him a message for me. I want him to know that I have my flippers crossed and that I hope he wins. But the most important thing is that he is already a winner to all his fans like me. I have heard some whispers that his grandfather will be invited to help me go back home when I am cleared for release. I am really excited about that! Good luck Jordan Spieth….and no matter what happens, just keep swimming!

PS..I wonder if that Masters thing has green coats that will fit a sea turtle.