Hope the turtle's owner is making every effort to protect the animal's heart and immune system
Hope has a condition so rare, there isn’t even a name for it.
According to Caters New Agency, the albino pinkbelly sideneck turtle was born with her heart exposed. In humans, this condition is called ectopia cordis, but in veterinary medicine there is no name for the life-threatening genetic defect.
Even with her heart beating outside of her shell, the baby turtle, named Hope, has defied the odds and survived.
Hope lives with her owner Michael Aquilina in New Jersey. Aquilina, known as AquaMike on Instagram, was given the turtle by a friend who felt Aquilina had the passion and experience to give Hope the longest, happiest life possible.
The little turtle arrived at Aquilina’s home in November 2018 and continues to grow stronger with each passing day.
Aquilina posts regular updates on how Hope is thriving to his Instagram. The dedicated owner often shares videos of the turtle’s underbelly, where her exposed heart can be seen beating just outside of her shell.
AquaMike is also filled with posts of Hope eating, posing for the camera and enjoying her private tank — along with plenty of shots of the other turtles Aquilinia cares for.
“Hope has impacted my life in so many ways it actually makes me emotional,” Aquilina told Caters.
To ensure Hope stays healthy, Aquilina makes every effort to protect the turtle’s immune system and exposed heart, reports Daily Mail.