Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Fisherman catches unusual ‘hunchback’ turtle off Taitung

SHELL-SHOCKED:A marine biology expert said the unusually shaped shell could have formed due to the turtle being in a confined environment

Staff writer, with CNA

An unusual-looking hunchback sea turtle is displayed in Taitung on Thursday.

Photo: CNA

A Taitung fisherman caught an unusual-looking “hunchback” sea turtle in waters off the nation’s southeast coast on Wednesday.

The fisherman, Tien Cheng-yung (田秤勇), said he was fishing in waters off Pingtung and Taitung counties when he unexpectedly pulled up a heavy turtle that had an unusually shaped shell.

Tien said his first thought was: “Why does it look like this?”

He said he had unintentionally caught turtles before, but had never seen one with a humped shell.

Tien said he shot a video of the creature with the humped back and then released it back into the sea.

When he showed the video to other veteran fishermen on Thursday, they were all amazed and said it was the first time they had seen a hunchback turtle, Tien said.

A photo of the turtle showed its shell shaped like a traditional Chinese farmer’s hat.

Cheng I-jiunn (程一駿), a marine biology professor at National Taiwan Ocean University, said it appeared from the photo to be a regular green sea turtle that had probably been raised in captivity or on a farm and was later abandoned or had escaped.

The unusual shape of its shell might have resulted from living in a small space, which would have forced the turtle to grow upward, making it appear to be hunchbacked, he said.

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