This Albino Turtle Lives with an Open Heart, and it’s not a Metaphor; It Beats Right in Front of You

Hope, a one of a kind albino Pink Belly Sidenecked turtle, was born with her heart outside her shell and has captured the hearts of her audience as they follow her through her journey of life.

Her condition is so rare that there isn’t a name for it in veterinary medicine but it is similar to ectobia cortis, a human condition where the heart is located in a different area and partially exposed outside of the thorax, or chest. Despite little Hope’s life-threatening condition, she survives with the help of her owner, Michael Aquilina, in New Jersey.



Hope was given to Aquilina, better known as “Aqua Mike,” by a breeder friend who believed that he had both the passion and the expertise to care for her special condition.

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