logo

Viral image of turtle with a 'little living world' on her back is real & here's the truth behind it

Aby Rivas
Dec 10, 2018
05:56 P.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

The curious photo of a turtle with a little world on her back has been making the rounds on social media and evoking memories of ancient cosmologist myths. Many thought the pic was fake, but it turns out it’s authentic, and the turtle in the pic is part of an investigation from Task Force Turtle.

Advertisement

According to several myths from India, China, and some native American communities, a turtle holds the whole world on her back, and this famous snapping turtle is probably the closest we'll get to that gorgeous image.

Advertisement

THE TASK FORCE TURTLE PROJECT

Task Force Turtle is a project that involves herpetologists and undergraduate students at Washington College and other local institutions in Maryland. They have been studying the ability of turtles to migrate every winter to the same place.

The fascinating photo of a common snapping turtle with a small ecosystem in tow has sparked people’s curiosity about the project and how exactly did the “little world” appear on the turtle’s back.

It turns out, the reptile in the pic is one of the thousands of snappers, and painted turtles tracked down with radio transmitters during the last decade. The transmitters are often installed in their shells in summer, to trace the way to their hiding places when the cold arrives.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“We follow them quite literally 24 hours a day,” said Aaron R. Krochmal, a professor of biology at Washington College and one of the researchers who originated the project. For him, the exciting thing about turtles in that area is that they offer the opportunity to study migration in an incredibly detailed way, as he explained to Live Science.

"What we think is super cool is that these animals do use a particular mud-place if you will, a wallow. And they return each year to the same exact spot, and by exact spot, I mean to the centimeter.”

Advertisement

THE SMALL WORLD

Regarding the turtle with the small living world on its back, Krochmal reported that the animal had recently woken up from hibernation, after spending two weeks buried by a lake that had dried up. For a few days, they thought that the radio transmitter in its shell had stopped working.

They also considered that the turtle had already emerged but left the transmitter behind, until the reptile made its way out of the once muddy place.

Source: Twitter/TaskForceTurtle

Source: Twitter/TaskForceTurtle

Advertisement

It was Timothy Roth, a professor of psychology at Franklin and Marshall College, who snapped the now viral picture. The earth above the turtle dried, sticking to her shell, probably the reason why it took her longer to come out in the first place.

Krochmal noted that the turtle weighs about 6 kilograms, and the "small world" of 25 cm on her back weighed about 8 kg. Despite the extra weight, the turtle was able to move without effort.

THE INVESTIGATION

What attracts Krochmal, Roth and their colleagues to these creatures is that tendency to follow the same path to the same mud hideout every year. They also find very interesting their ability to survive under the earth for months, without climbing in search of air.

Advertisement
Advertisement

However, the research has focused on studying what these creatures have in mind to discover what it is that makes them or allows them to repeat the same trip every year, and as a part of the study they have been given a drug called scopolamine.

This produces a block in the brain to bind to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which prevents the brain from forming or accessing memories.

What they found out is that the drugged turtles lose their way, but once the drug effects pass, they return to their path until they reach their destination, explained Krochmal.

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

Rich Man Mocks Poor Girl on Hiking Trip, an Avalanche Occurs and Only She Can Save Him – Story of the Day

February 02, 2022

Jerry Mathers’ Wife Left Him for Another Man While a Doctor Warned He Could Have 3 to 5 Years Left to Live

February 08, 2022

Woman Pretends to Be Magical Fairy for Months to Comfort a Little Girl Who Was Feeling Lonely

April 22, 2022

4 Friends Promise to Meet in 40 Years, 3 Men Show Up and Find Note Saying, 'I'm Not Coming' – Story of the Day

January 31, 2022

Man Gives Teen Boy a Family Heirloom with Lincoln’s Portrait That Helps Him Find Treasure – Story of the Day

February 21, 2022

Woman Finds Hidden Door in Her Home, Discovers a Secret Room Full of Long-Lost Letters behind It

May 11, 2022

Years after Artist’s Death, His Son Becomes Homeless and Finds His Painting in a Dumpster – Story of the Day

April 13, 2022

Rich Woman Mocks Cleaner Who Is in Love with Her, until He Saves Her on the Street – Story of the Day

February 12, 2022

Who Is Pierce Brosnan Married To? Meet the James Bond Star’s ‘Luscious Love’ Keely Shaye Smith

May 16, 2022

Orphan Boy Visits Unfinished House Father Was Building 10 Years Ago, Finds Locked Hatch Inside – Story of the Day

January 31, 2022

Grieving Old Man Waters 17 Trees Every Day until Mall Owner Decides to Build a Parking Lot There – Story of the Day

April 30, 2022

Poor Guy Mocked for Driving His Late Granddad’s Old Car Finds a Will Under the Seat One Day – Story of the Day

May 12, 2022

David Soul Was ‘Still a Kid’ When He Married for the 1st Time – He Fathered 5 Sons & Daughter

February 14, 2022

Who Is Noah Thompson? Everything to Know About ‘American Idol’ Winner

May 23, 2022