BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Funzo is a resident pig-nosed turtle at the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center. To celebrate his 28th birthday on Tuesday, the aquarium tweeted a picture of the adorable, introverted reptile to its more than 50,000 followers.
And then the comments came.
get rid of it https://t.co/uuRH9V5Zz4
— Speview – fat free (@ReviewerSpell) January 5, 2022
Thats an anteater https://t.co/Sgl4XRTvb3
— NICK (@nickgrodo) January 5, 2022
Even former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith joined in. Smith eventually redeemed himself with a shoutout to the aquarium.
This is one of the top 5 ugliest animals I’ve ever seen. https://t.co/Usz7uP0Iud
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) January 4, 2022
Fortunately, Funzo didn’t see the tweets. All he feels is the love he gets at the care center, where he is a sort of celebrity, according to the aquarium.
Funzo has been with the National Aquarium since 2002 but has been out of the busy exhibit habitat since 2011. The aquarium said he much prefers a quieter space – his pool at the care center.
Animal Care and Rescue Center tours began with National Aquarium members in 2018, and while some Twitter users aren’t so kind, he’s a favorite with guests touring the facility, the aquarium said.
For each negative comment Funzo got – and there are a lot – a few diehard fans were born. Soon enough, Funzo had dozens of well-wishers, including Baltimore staples.
I am willing to sacrifice my life for funzo
— Jamie’s food diary (@jamiepoverty) January 6, 2022
— Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (@DowntownBalt) January 5, 2022
— Babe Ruth Birthplace (@BabeRuthMuseum) January 5, 2022
According to EDGE of Existence, a global conservation program, the pig-nosed turtle is “the sole surviving member of its entire family, Carettochelyidae, and sits alone on a branch of the tree of life reaching back around 140 million years.”
Unlike other freshwater turtles, turtles like Funzo have flippers and a leathery shell, not to mention their snoutlike nose.
According to the aquarium, pig-nosed turtles are found in northern Australia, Irian Jaya and southern New Guinea. Funzo’s kind was once believed to be extremely rare but was found to be common in its range.
Funzo is an incredibly unique turtle with a storied lineage who prefers to mind his business in the swimming pool rather than engage with his detractors online. Baltimore is lucky to have him.
So please be nice to him.
— National Aquarium (@NatlAquarium) January 5, 2022