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Cheese Turtle refers to a rare flapshell turtle discovered in Bengal that, due to a lack of a pigment called tyrosine, is colored yellow. After pictures of the animal were posted to Twitter, users joked that it looked like a turtle covered in a slice of yellow American cheese.
The first post featuring the turtle occurred July 19th, 2020, when a video of the turtle was posted by @Susantananda3 (shown below). The video gained over 4,500 retweets and 18,000 likes.
A rare yellow turtle was spotted & rescued in Balasore, Odisha yesterday.
Most probably it was an albino. One such aberration was recorded by locals in Sindh few years back. pic.twitter.com/ZHAN8bVccU
— Susanta Nanda IFS (@susantananda3) July 20, 2020
However, it was not until October of 2020 that pictures of a second turtle with the odd color began attracting attention. On October 27th, 2020, Twitter user @deva_iitkp posted pictures of the turtle, gaining over 1,100 retweets, 1,600 quote tweets, and 7,200 likes (shown below). In a follow-up tweet, he surmised the turtle had a strange color may be because “of either some genetic mutation or congenital disorder due to absence of tyrosine pigment.”
The post attracted attention from commenters who felt the turtle resembled a slice of cheese. User @usedwifi called the turtle “forbidden cheese,” recalling the forbidden snacks meme, gaining over 40 retweets and 360 likes (shown below, left). User @neontaster joked, “he should become the mascot for Velveeta,” gaining over 20 retweets and 450 likes (shown below, right).