Not many turtles get to become social media influencers, especially ones like Hope.
Hope was born with her heart exposed outside of her shell. The organ, which peeks through a small hole in her stomach, can be seen beating as she swims, eats and dives in her tank.
It’s an awe-inspiring phenomenon, and one that, despite its striking appearance, has not affected the turtle’s health. Michael Aquilina, Hope’s owner, told In The Know that his pet lives a healthy life.
Aquilina, 31, keeps his large Instagram following updated on that fact. He consistently posts photos of Hope to his social media page, Aquamike23, with many images showing her extraordinary condition.
Wishing everyone a Happy & Healthy New Year! Thank you to everyone who made 2019 such an amazing year for me. I have a lot to be thankful for heading into 2020. Through my passion I’ve made so many connections with invaluable people. I get to meet fans and supporters on almost a daily basis! I’m finally finding my way and on a path that I’m happy to be on. Life is starting to get good and I cannot wait to spread Hope and positivity throughout this next decade! The best is yet to come 💯 📸 - @therealelose for @ripleysbelieveitornot
A post shared by Aquamike (@aquamike23) on Jan 1, 2020 at 1:03pm PST
Aquilina’s relationship with Hope goes far beyond photo ops, though. The 31-year-old told Caters News that he’s found a great deal of emotional support in the turtle, which came into his life in late 2018.
“Hope has impacted my life in so many ways it actually makes me emotional,” he said.
More than a year later, Aquilina keeps his followers up to date on all of Hope’s progress, as she continues to progress from a young animal into a healthy, full-grown turtle.
Hopes first shed as a young adult is really interesting. Her carapace scutes are shedding fully, but her plastron shed is flaking off in small pieces. It’s hard to tell outside of water but you can really see how flaky her plastron is in the third video. Documenting this to see if the same thing happens next time. I wonder if her birth defect inhibits her from shedding properly but only on her plastron 🤔 #turtle #turtles #animals #reptiles #pets #nature #wildlife #miracle #oneofakind #cute #love #science #biology #anatomy #life #hope #spreadhope
A post shared by Aquamike (@aquamike23) on Feb 9, 2020 at 9:18am PST
Ultimately, Aquilina wants Hope to inspire others — which shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering what he named his turtle.
“My mission is to save animals and give them all the love that I’ve got to give. I am also here to educate people about animals as well as help spread hope to everyone who could use some,” the description of his website reads. “Treat every living thing, man, woman, child and animal with love and respect. Every life matters no matter how big or small!”
What a year for Hope! She’s come such a long way ✋🏼🐢🍇 Swipe left for the update 🤭🥰 #hope #spreadhope #turtle #turtles #reptiles #animals #pets #thedodo #fox #people #grapes #cute #love #wildlife #nature #science #biology #anatomy #herpetology #vettech #veterinarian #medicine #health #growth #miracle #heart #oneofakind
A post shared by Aquamike (@aquamike23) on Dec 14, 2019 at 9:27pm PST
The post This remarkable turtle was born with an exposed heart appeared first on In The Know.
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