The National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center has a resident pig-nosed turtle named Funzo. On Tuesday, the aquarium tweeted a photo of the charming, reclusive lizard to its more than 50,000 followers to commemorate his 28th birthday.
Then came the feedback.
Torrey Smith, a former Ravens wide receiver, joined in the fun. Smith finally made amends with a mention of the aquarium.
Thankfully, Funzo was unaware of the tweets. According to the aquarium, all he feels is the affection he receives at the care facility, where he is treated like a star.
Funzo has worked at the National Aquarium since 2002, but hasn’t been in the active display habitat since 2011. The aquarium stated that he likes a more tranquil environment, such as his pool at the care facility.
Tours of the Animal Care and Rescue Center began with National Aquarium members in 2018, and while some Twitter users aren’t fond of him, he’s a hit with visitors, according to the aquarium.
For every bad comment Funzo received – and there were a lot of them – a few ardent supporters arose. Funzo soon had a slew of well-wishers, including some Baltimore regulars.
The pig-nosed turtle is “the single living member of its entire family, Carettochelyidae, and sits alone on a branch of the tree of life going back about 140 million years,” according to EDGE of Existence, a global conservation effort.
Turtles like Funzo have flippers, a leathery shell, and a snoutlike nose, which distinguishes them from other freshwater turtles.
Pig-nosed turtles may be found in northern Australia, Irian Jaya, and southern New Guinea, according to the aquarium. Funzo’s species was long thought to be highly uncommon, but it was shown to be widespread across its habitat.
Funzo is a one-of-a-kind turtle with a long history who likes to keep his head down in the water rather than engage with his critics online. Baltimore is fortunate to have it.