They were two peas in a pod — with very different complexions.
Massachusetts Environmental Police this week discovered two distinctive baby snapping turtles in a pool in Lakeville, a town south of Boston.
The state agency shared a picture of the two tiny reptiles on Facebook Thursday. One of the turtles was albino, with a white shell, pinkish legs, and dark red eyes.
The second turtle was the opposite. At first, environ- mental officials believed it was "melanistic," explaining the small creature's jet black pigment with slight white spots on its underbelly.
But after consulting with the state herpetologist, a spokeswoman from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said the dark-colored turtle was just a normal hue.
"That's what they look like when they have just emerged from the nest," said Marion Larson, of the wildlife division.
The albino animal, however, "is very rare" and "very unusual," she added.
Environmental officials called the pair "unique," and said the turtles were likely just two days old when found Wednesday. It was unclear where the duo came from or whether it was a swimming pool they were in.
Because of their small size, the turtles were given to an expert, officials said.
"Due to their low chance of survivability in the wild, the hatchlings have been turned over to a specialist trained in the care and rehabilitation of reptiles," according to environmental police.
Larson said baby snapping turtles, the most common species of turtle in the state, make easy prey for bull frogs, birds, and water snakes.
"They are the most vulnerable because they are so small, and all kinds of things will eat them," Larson said. "When you are that small, you are much more likely to be eaten — size matters."
Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.