A turtle breeder’s friend, Mike Aquilina, told him about a small baby turtle that needed a home. Mike was willing to step up and take care of her, but nothing prepared him for the one-of-a-kind reptile. Not only is the adorable pink-bellied side-neck turtle albino, but she was also born without a heartbeat-such a rare condition among animals that the veterinary community has not yet given it a medical name. The rare condition is called ectopia cordis in humans. According to British Medical Journal Case Reports, it’s a “complete or partial displacement of the heart outside the thoracic cavity.”
Very soon after Mike brought the turtle into his New Jersey home, her presence improved his quality of life — hence the reason he named her Hope.
“Hope has changed my life for the better in such a short amount of time,” he told Caters News Agency. “I keep her water extra clean, give her a basking area that is as soft as possible and handle her as little as possible.”
Because she is so fragile and her deformity must be kept clean at all times, Hope must be separated from other turtles.
But as you’re about to see, she’s equally as brave as she is fragile, and she continues to survive despite the odds stacked against her.