An albino green turtle hatchling waits to be released into the ocean. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
News 965 - Orlando
Volunteers from Coolum and North Shore Coast Care in Queensland, Australia were treated to a rare sight on Sunday when a tiny, white turtle was found sitting newly hatched in a nest on Yaroomba's Castaways Beach.
The group had been scanning the sands of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to count empty shells and calculate how many new turtles had made it to sea when they found the special baby sitting on top of the nest.
"It is a very rare find," Warneminde said. "It is the first time I've see one."
The small albino green turtle was a little late in making his way out of the nest; his siblings had all already hatched and crawled away.
Dr. Col Limpus, Queensland's Government's Threatened Species Unit chief scientist, expanded on how rare an albino turtle is, stating, "Albino hatchlings are extremely rare; it probably occurs at the rate of one in many hundreds of thousands of eggs that are laid."
Unfortunately, that rarity doesn’t bode well for the tiny turtle’s future.
Normal hatchlings only have a 1-in-1,000 chance of making it to maturity, and the white hatchling’s color makes him an easy spot for predators.
"They're not particularly suited with color patterns that would blend and camouflage within the environment, and they're more likely to be taken by predators," said Limpus.
But Warneminde wasn’t too worried about the little guy, commenting, “He was quite vigorous while walking from the nest to the ocean."