Ridiculously Bright Yellow Turtle Discovered in India

The golden flapshell turtle is one of a few recently discovered little turtles in the country.
Fabienne Lang
Yellow flapshell turtleDebashish Sharma/Twitter

It's vivid, it's the color of the sun, of an egg yolk, of a banana, of a daffodil—it's a golden flapshell turtle.

Having nothing to do with space, food, or flora, this little bright yellow turtle is the second of its kind to be discovered in India in the space of a few months, per Science Alert's report.

The baffling coloring is surprising, but not that uncommon for this type of turtle

Discovered in a net during a fishing spree, the latest internet sensation is garnering a fair amount of attention, and given the turtle's flashy coloring, it's easy to see why. 


Indian flapshell turtles, or Lissemys punctate as they're taxonomically knownare typically brown with yellow spots, but they sometimes come out as yellow. It's a common type of turtle across South Asia, and it's been spotted in its yellow form a number of times across the region.

It's easy to see why it would stand out once it's yellow. Zero camouflage coverage is offered to the golden flapshell turtles, as they're startling yellow exterior blends in with absolutely nothing from their natural habitat. 

This summer, a golden flapshell turtle was discovered in Odisha, in eastern India, and images of it were posted on Twitter. And per Science Alert, a paper was published in Herpetology Notes more recently about one found in Nepal. 

And then there was the one that was discovered on October 27th, also in eastern India. Images of this one were also posted on Twitter. 

The reason behind these dazzling turtles' color is most likely due to albinism—where there is a complete lack of pigmentation in the body. In humans albinism shows up as entirely white, in flapshell turtles it's yellow. 

It's not completely rare for flapshell turtles to end up yellow due to albinism, and experts describe it as "relatively uncommon," per Science Alert.

It's difficult relocating flapshells once they're caught, as herpetologist Sneha Dharwadkar explained on her Twitter post. Dharwadkar explained that "we need to find an alternative to relocating flapshells." 

"It's almost impossible to relocate flapshells because 1) they are found in most water bodies...2) Most places have fishing," she continued. 

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