SHIZUOKA, Japan – A rare turtle with tiny horns on both its eyelids, which was discovered in Shizuoka Prefecture last year, has gone on display at a local zoo, with curators saying it is “probably the only one in the world.”
The female Chinese pond turtle is believed to be around 10 years old judging from its body size, having a 16-centimeter shell and weighing 670 grams, said curators at iZoo, a facility showcasing reptiles and amphibians in the town of Kawazu.
The zoo used X-ray to check its horns, roughly 1 cm in length, and believe they have been formed from dead skin cells.
It was captured by a man while he was fishing in Fuji in the prefecture in the summer of 2019.
When he sent an image of the horned turtle to the zoo, “I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought it might be a composite picture,” said Tsuyoshi Shirawa, chief curator of the zoo.
The man kept the turtle at his home for a while but donated it to iZoo in July this year, believing it should be seen by many people.
The zoo has mated the horned turtle with a male Chinese pond turtle to see if any horned baby turtles will be produced.
Babies are expected to hatch next spring, according to the zoo.